Maria’s Story – Part 5: Plan B

The grueling ten-month journey into Ontario’s healthcare bureaucracy to get a melanoma removed from a woman’s neck.

Plan B’-ing

You can review the Timeline of Events here 

You can read Part 1: The Bump here

You can read Part 2: Collateral damage from the Coronavirus here

You can read Part 3: Delays, misunderstandings, and a lackadaisical attitude here

You can read Part 4: Bureaucracy run amok here

For months she let the system control her health, but now that she knew the stakes, she decided to take control of her health. She kept calling her local hospital but also started making other plans in case more clerical obstacles presented themselves.

“I have an uncle who is a doctor in Toronto,” Maria says. “So, I asked him if he knew anyone who could help me.”

It might be strange to suggest that not everyone is as fortunate as Maria considering her situation, but, as is usually the case, knowing someone on the inside can help grease the wheels. Even when it comes to healthcare.

Her uncle immediately reached out to Dr. Hong, a colleague of his, to see if he could provide other options.

Now, Dr. Hong is not only an experienced surgeon, but he is also the Past President of the Ontario Medical Association, Plastic Surgery Section, and current Chief of Plastic Surgery for EMAS, a charitable organization that provides medical and dental care to under-serviced areas throughout the World. In other words, he is well connected and has deeply rooted tendencies towards humanitarianism.

Whenever he can, he helps. And even though he did not know Maria personally, he gathered Maria’s lab reports and photos of the lesion and reached out to his network.

Maria’s luck was finally turning. While Dr. Hong was not able to arrange for a lymphoscintigraphy, he was able to schedule her for a CT Scan on December 13; Scheduled her for a pre-surgery consult on December 15; And arranged for a chest X-ray and bloodwork.

He did all this within 24 hours.

Even though these appointments would all take place in the Greater Toronto Area, approximately a five-hour drive away, Maria was happy that proactive steps were finally being taken to remove the ticking time bomb from her neck.

In Part 6 Maria sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

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