Carol Young holds her granddaughter Melodie in February. Submitted

Cancer patient finally gets to see doctor in Abbotsford after media attention

Carol Young was told she had a month to live without treatment, but couldn’t get in to see doctor

Carol Young spoke out. A day later, she was finally able to see two oncologists to discuss how she might prolong her life.

Young, 65, has terminal cancer and was told two weeks ago that she had a month to live without treatment. Nevertheless, she was unable to secure an appointment with an oncologist at Abbotsford’s cancer clinic until June 13, by which time it would have been 27 days since her dire prognosis.

Young, a successful Haida artist, spoke to The News on Wednesday about her predicament.

“I’m not ready to give up,” said Young, who said she hoped to receive chemotherapy in order to extend her life and spend more time with her children. Although she has had some health issues, Young has not yet been beset by the pain or significant discomfort that often accompanies the final stages of cancer.

Young told The News that after receiving a scan in mid-May, she asked for paperwork to be sent to the BC Cancer Agency’s clinic at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, so she could stay with her son in Langley while receiving treatment. But for a week, she left messages at the clinic, only to hear nothing back. Finally, this Tuesday, she was told that the earliest she could see an oncologist was June 13. She couldn’t restart treatment before then.

RELATED: Cancer patient given month to live without treatment, but must wait weeks to see doctor

Young spoke to The News on Wednesday and a story was posted online soon thereafter. Within hours, an assistant for provincial health minister Adrian Dix contacted The News to get in touch with Young, which led to a conversation between Young and Dix. On Thursday, Young got an appointment with a radiation oncologist and an oncologist who deals with chemotherapy, according to her daughter.

Young’s path forward is still unclear, and The News intends to respect the family’s privacy. But the waiting for the oncologist appointment, at least, is over. Young told The News that the hardest part of her treatment had been waiting to receive information.

It’s unclear how common Young’s situation is. Others spoke of long waits to see a cancer specialist, and Young herself was told that the oncologist’s schedule was “full” until mid-June.

Pamela Gole, the BC Cancer Agency director of communications, said that while she can’t discuss the specifics of Young’s case, she said it was neither “common nor is it the regular standard of care.”

The agency’s referral forms have an area where physicians can signal the urgency of the case, she noted.

And although it can be difficult to fill oncologist positions, Gole said the cancer clinic in Abbotsford has a full complement of cancer specialists. She said Young’s case was not the result of a shortage of oncologists.

“Providing the best possible patient care is our priority,” Gole said.

Asked what other patients who might find themselves in similar situations can do, Gole pointed them towards each health authority’s Patient Care Quality Office. Information can be found under “complaints” at the bottom of most health authority and agencies’ websites. Gole said complaints of an urgent nature are treated as such. Complaints also, she said, allow health officials to improve system-wide care.

The News also has requested to speak to Dix, but a health ministry spokesperson said such questions should be directed to the Provincial Health Services Authority that oversees the BC Cancer Agency. The News has repeated its request, given Dix’s role overseeing provincial health policy.


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Queen Charlotte name change will be a long process

Mayor says conversations still to be had with all residents

Haida Gwaii support workers strike deal with school district

New agreement will be in effect for the next three years

Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital to get secure room for psychiatric patients

Cost anticipated at close to $1 million for Masset hospital

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Queen Charlotte explores banning single use plastics

Council seeking community input on options to reduce plastic waste

WATCH: Killer whale has the final catch in Prince Rupert waters

Fishing duel sees salmon stolen by eager orca

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from B.C. furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Rising gas prices force B.C. residents to rethink summer road trips: poll

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read