Debate on performing thoracic cancer surgery in Windsor continues
Garnet Mertz has put a face to the debate about continuing thoracic cancer surgery in Windsor.
The Kingsville resident has fully recovered after being diagnosed with this kind of cancer eight years ago.
He speaks with a cervox - a voice activator - and says it would be unfortunate if Windsor no longer performed this type of surgery.
“I do not like that idea,” he says.
He says his journey was difficult as he often had to travel to Windsor and other regional hospitals for treatment.
“That was very bad for my family and me."
Cancer Care Ontario recently told Windsor Regional Hopsital it will need to stop performing thoracic surgeries altogether, saying hospitals not in compliance would face an $800,000 funding cut.
Windsor performs about 50 of these surgeries each year, which is 100 less than the recommended threshold.
"Now's not the time to play chicken with health care,” says Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj.
He says Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) has made exceptions for hospitals in both Kingston and Thunder Bay.
He adds that officials should weigh the quality of the surgery over the quantity.
CCO reps say Windsor doctors do not perform enough surgeries for the area to be considered a Level 1 centre.
“The issue of doing 150 just to have a certain level of quality, just doesn't stand up to the standard of what we have now."
Last week, Liberal MPP Teresa Piruzza spoke with Health Minister Deb Matthews about cancer funding and was told the region would not lose any funding.
“Someone needs to tell CCO then to rescind their threat in their September letter, otherwise that's the letter we go by,” Musyj says.
He will meet with senior level physicians to iron out a plan and decide if they will comply or defy the direction.
“We have to look at the impact this is going to have - the negative impact - and try to make the best of what's facing us right now,” he says.
Cancer Care Ontario says it wants to hear a plan by Dec. 1 and that complete thoracic surgeries need to stop no later than March 2014.