"An Appendectomy & Shocking Accountability Beyond Belief"
The physical, emotional, psychological
& financial impact on our lives has been horrendous to say the
This nightmare & shocking experience finally ended some 3 years & 7 months later, on October 1st 2013, under the expertise, skill, guidance & professionalism of Dr Nader Pouratian and his team, at the UCLA in Los Angeles, California.
On the 23rd January 2010, my wife was rushed into the Rockyview Hospital, Calgary, with a suspected appendicitis, she was admitted at just before 11:00 am.
She was then examined by a surgeon, a Dr Samer Elkassem, who confirmed an appendicitis using the McBurney’s point technique, she was then given Morphine and finally taken into theatre at 8:00 pm - some 9 hours after diagnosis.
At this point, the interesting thing is that reading the fatality report of another appendectomy he carried out on March 29th - where the patient actually died - he actually states on page 3 - quote:
"Dr. Elkassem confirmed that the standard of care for appendicitis was to operate. He said a failure to operate could lead to a perforated appendix and the patient could develop sepsis and become very toxic and possibly die."
To see or read the fatality report, click here it makes incredible reading!
Interesting point, and knowing this perhaps he or someone at Alberta Health could explain to me why he confirmed my wife's appendicitis at 11:00am on January 23rd and he did not take her to theatre until 8:00pm?
The story continues......
The surgery was performed Laparoscopically, where he discovered the appendix had in fact burst - no doubt due to the 9 hour wait, and he still proceeded Laproscopically, rather than the preferred "open method" having once discovered they had burst, as things were quite messy to say the least, with infection, which by now had travelled as far as the liver - according to Dr Elkassem.
A day and a half later my wife was discharged, & despite the literature supplied by the Rockyview, clearly stating that with a normal appendectomy a 1 to 3 day stay may be required, with a burst appendix it is 3 to seven days recommended.
Before being discharged, she was given a quick crash course on how to drain the continual discharge of infection from inside – I have since learnt that a home care nurse should have been provided to attend to this situation.
She attended the hospital approximately a week later, where the same surgeon – Dr Elkassem - removed the drain tube from her stomach rather “abruptly, quickly & painfully!” Dr Elkassem seemed rather shocked that my wife screamed out in agony at the removal of this tube, to the point where it reduced her to tears. We have since learned that the removal of this drain should have caused no pain whatsoever - discomfort yes, but no pain to the point of screaming in agony and tears!
Approximately a week or so after the surgery she noticed a constant underlying pain directly under the scar where the appendix was, we contacted the surgeon (Elkassem) and he said this was normal and would go in time as this was just a muscle spasm and nothing to worry about.
Nearly three weeks after the surgery, my wife was still in pain and this seemed to be getting worse by the day with intensity. Again, I contacted him by email & text and he still maintained it was a muscle spasm and that we were being anxious and it was nothing to worry about. I again asked him, how could this be? I knew lots of people who'd had an appendicitis and never had continual pain some 8 to 10 days later - especially directly under the scar tissue from the Trocar entry - "its a muscle spasm, don't worry" he replied.
We were not
convinced by this, and I was starting to have doubts as to his
surgical skills etc... as this was now some 2 - 3 weeks after
the original surgery and my wife described the pain as being
equal to that of the original appendicitis in intensity.
I never had a reply to my letters, and Elkassem again dismissed our concerns as nonsense and things would settle down and that we were just being over anxious which was a normal reaction following surgery.
Andreas Martinez dies at the hands of Dr Samer Elkassem
On March the 29th 2010 – 2 months after my wife’s operation, Dr Elkassem carried out another appendectomy at the Rockyview, on Mr Andres Martinez – as you can see from this article last year – his improper surgical technique left a lot to be desired!
Although we did not know this at the time, as this information was only released last year (2012) after the fatality inquest.
Having read this article last year involving Dr Elkassem, just two months after my wife’s surgery, given what I'd read on the internet involving surgery and appendectomies, I was convinced he had damaged a nerve or something due to his improper surgical technique.
When we attempted to contact Dr Elkassem again at the end of March, to inform him that things were getting worse, his office said:
“He was no longer available, as he’d now moved to Toronto and another doctor was now handling his patient caseload.”
We thought his departure was rather sudden as he’d not said anything during a recent consultation, and in fact told us to contact him if things were no better during April.
His sudden disappearance now makes sense - given what happened with Mr Martinez – which we were unaware of at the time.
We then saw a Dr Daran Austen, who was now dealing with Dr Elkassem’s patients and we explained the history, he agreed to perform some exploratory Surgery – reluctantly! He also made it "very" clear that "he" was not the original surgeon who carried out the appendectomy on my wife, whilst he was very quick to point this out, he held his hands in the air - either side of him in a sort of "I take no responsibility for what has taken place here" stance! All very odd I thought - but his reaction became very clear as time passed and we discovered more.
He was fully aware of exactly who Dr Elkassem was, not that we were aware of this at the time, he was also fully aware of what had happened to Mr Martinez, as he had been called out the night Mr Martinez bled to death. ( This information was discovered after reading the fatality report ) He didn’t reveal this information – not that I would expect him to, but given what he knew, I’d have expected him to have been more thorough in his pursuit to find the cause of this problem.
The exploratory surgery was carried out on the 23rd September 2010, to which his findings were as follows:
“I have found nothing to warrant the pain, the area all around the appendix is fine and looks clear. I did find a spec of blood on the liver which I have sent for analysis.”
The lab results came back, and Dr Austen informed us that my wife had in fact got Endometriosis, and she needed to see a Gynaecologist, he then referred us to a Dr Allen.
How can this be we thought? I have an appendectomy, left in crippling pain, now, "all of a sudden" I have Endometriosis? Once again, we put our faith in Redford's "World Class Healthcare system" as they were the 'supposed' experts!
We then had a consultation with Dr Allen, and he confirmed the following:
“You have Endometriosis and I can prescribe drugs to control the pain at $350 to 400 a month, we’ll put you in early menopause & the side effects are, your body will think you’re 60 years old and you’ll become fat and hairy!”
His exact words – I kid you not!
Clearly shocked, physically sickened, my wife in tears, not to mention disgusted by his unprofessional manner, we then went back to our GP (Family doctor) as both my wife & I were convinced she did not have Endometriosis, as she had never had any stomach issues in her life whatsoever prior to this appendectomy surgery at the Rockyview Hospital.
We then saw our GP again who was also convinced this pain and collapsing to the floor, was a direct result of the original surgery, she then referred us for a second opinion to a more professional Gynaecologist by the name of Dr Karen Bailey in High River.
We attended a consultation with Dr Bailey on June 14th 2012 – she examined my wife and found lots of tenderness in the lower right hand lower quadrant - right in the location of the scar tissue from the appendectomy.
She then said:
“Based on the
case notes, and the findings from Dr Austen and Dr Allen – you
She agreed, and on September 5th 2012, Dr Bailey performed laparoscopic, exploratory surgery and her comments were this:
absolutely ‘Zero’ endometriosis present! We found a huge amount
of surgical clips present, which I have removed, (According to Dr Austen things were
good and all clear!) which were very close to a nerve that goes
from the top to bottom of the abdominal wall."
My wife followed her advice, and after 10 days of rest Dr Bailey contacted us for an update. Unfortunately, I was sad to say that things were no better. In fact, the pain is much more frequent and just as painful.
recommended we now saw a bowel surgeon or had an MRI scan to see
if this revealed any findings.
Totally fed up of seeing my wife in constant pain and collapsing to the floor, getting no-where, I wrote to Fred Horne in November 2012 ( Minister of Health for Alberta ) out of desperation, and he didn’t even bother to reply - despite 4 letters!
In March 2013,
I then contacted the journalist by email who wrote the article
on the Martinez case,
He forwarded my letter to Dr Chris Eagle CEO for the AHS and he appointed a patient relations officer.
We were then referred to Dr Chary on April 6th, and during the consultation my wife actually collapsed into the foetal position on the floor – shocked by this he took some notes and said he would be in touch etc…
He arranged for a nerve block injection at "our" request - as follows:
On the 1st May
2013 my wife had a Nerve Block injection into the ilioinguinal
nerve to try and numb the pain. We arrived at the Richmond
centre where we met a Dr Shinkaruk - whilst a pleasant lady she
was appointed by Dr Chary to carry out the Nerve block
procedure. She hardly instilled us with confidence by attending,
dressed in a white tee-shirt, Wrangler jeans and trainers -
further lack of confidence was when she announced, by her own
admission, that she had never carried out one of these
injections before - into this nerve, and so as to the
reliability of this - we’re not sure - and neither was she!
The injection did nothing, the pain was still present and my wife was still reduced to the foetal position on the car park of the Richmond centre, in agony, and again once we had returned home. This was all within two hours of having that injection – during the night she was awoken by a severe pain in the left side – something which she’d never experienced before!
I sent Dr Chary an email updating him as to what had happened - no reply!
Dr Shinkaruk did add that sometimes it takes a second injection for the results to become apparent. I then asked, how can this be if the first wears off after 4 to 5 hours? Case study she replied….
On the 9th May 2013 my wife had an MRI scan at the Rockyview Hospital. Which on reflection, I cannot believe we were driving into the entrance as a result of a fairly- routine operation that occurred at this hospital in January 2010 - some 3 years ago - something I find absolutely incredible!
According to Dr Chary – the MRI scan had revealed nothing untoward, and he’s further suggested a new cream that is on the market which could possibly subside the pain. My thoughts at this point were, how on earth is a tube of cream going to stop her collapsing to the floor on a daily basis? It might subdue the pain - but collapsing to the floor is acceptable is it? Why not get to the root cause of this issue?
I feel like this has been exhausted by the Canadian healthcare system and we’re now at “guinea pig” stage – try this – try that – I feel it requires a specialist to look into this – someone with a determination to solve this mystery, and see it as a challenge and educate others at the same time by this experience.
Meanwhile, everyday that goes by my wife’s quality of life since the day she left the Rockyview hospital has been nothing but constant pain!
Total hours calculated – she’s literally spent weeks and weeks curled up into the foetal position on the floor! When she’s not on the floor she’s has constant stitch type pain!
I continually pointed out to Physicians we saw, out of all the appendectomies carried out in Alberta I simply cannot believe & refuse to accept that my wife is the only person on the face of this earth that has this condition following an appendectomy, and given today’s technology that this cannot be solved - they would just look at me with a blank clueless expression!
Given what I know now about Dr Elkassem’s improper surgical procedure, I’m convinced he made a mistake during surgery, and that his technique was very unorthodox to say the least – this is actually stated within the fatality report.
The best advice I have had so far from the AHS - Dr Kortbeek, who is the “head’ of surgeons at the Rockyview, suggested we go back to the original surgeon to complain!
I’m absolutely flabbergasted that a person in this position, given the history and misdiagnosis of all this, could make such a ridiculous statement!
One thing I am utterly convinced of, if this was Kortbeek's wife, Alison Redford, Danielle Smith, Fred Horne's wife - Stephen Harper's for that matter, are we seriously saying that they would have been left for 3 plus years to suffer in pain, and finally offered a tube of cream and Lyrica? I think we all know the answer to that one.
Its one thing for Alison Redford to brag about a “World Class Healthcare” but that has to work both ways and live up to that statement when things go dramatically wrong, and “how things are put right!”
Totally frustrated by the Alberta Healthcare system, combined with the fact that no one seemed to have a clue, cared, or even had the determination to investigate this issue professionally, and have a passion to get to exactly what the problem was, seriously concerned us both indeed!
Then on Friday the 12th May 2013, I watched a documentary with great interest produced by the Fifth estate - which was all about the shocking state of the healthcare system that existed within Canada, and how accountability was nonexistent. I even emailed the fifth estate describing our experience and sent them a case file asking for help - you guessed it - no reply! Just another one crossed off the list - which as you can imagine was quite long at this point.
program they named Windsor Regional Hospital as the best in
Canada, run by CEO - Mr David Musyj.
I was so impressed with this guy, I decided to email him and send him a case file regarding my wife's condition, and within 1 hour of doing so he replied and said he would discuss it with colleagues etc.. and had sent my case file to colleagues within his hospital, and would get back to me soon. At this point, bear in mind that this was at 8:30pm in the evening too.
He emailed me the next day (at 5:22am) in the morning to say that despite my wife's medical issues, he/they felt it was even past their facilities etc... In fairness to Mr Musyj, he was basing this on an emailed case file and not an actual evaluation. He did make a suggestion I contact various medical institutions within the US for an expert medical opinion. As it was, I was currently awaiting a reply from the Mayo clinic (In the US) as to their opinion and ways forward etc...
A few days later the opinion I got back from the Mayo clinic was:
"We can offer no further medical opinion and would suggest you carry on treatment with your current healthcare provider"
That seemed a
very odd statement to make - considering all I'd researched
about the Mayo clinic. Interestingly, a week prior to receiving
this statement from the Mayo I'd informed our Alberta Health
that I'd in fact contacted the Mayo clinic for a solution - they
asked me which clinic - I told them and them a week later I get
that statement! How interesting and coincidental is that?? I
replied to them as follows:
As far as I
was concerned, this was just another medical institute crossed
off the long list of "no determination, clueless or
influenced - as to get to
the heart of the problem!"
Dr Nader Pouratian - UCLA, Los Angeles
On May 24th 2013, I happened to be reading a UK newspaper when I then came across this astonishing article about a guy ( Brad Carter ) having brain stimulation surgery at the UCLA - being streamed live whilst the patient sat up in bed playing the guitar!
This was the article & video that inspired and prompted me to make contact with Dr Pouration. As I'm sure you'll agree, its very impressive!
After reading the article and seeing this video, my initial thoughts were this, what an achievement, and with such expertise - then surely my wife's issue would be child's play? After reading the article, I saw the doctor overseeing this remarkable and delicate procedure was named as Dr Nader Pouration at the UCLA.
I wasted no time in tracking this guy down, and discovered with the help of Google that not only was he a brain surgeon but also specialised in Nerve surgery too! I/we had been convinced for a while that my wife's issue was nerve related, after studying hundreds of articles and left to do our own research no end into my wife's condition - much to the dismay, disbelief & dismissed by our family physician and by Alberta Health too!
I emailed Dr Pouration at the UCLA, and sent him a full case history of the fiasco that had taken place so far. He replied, and was more than happy to evaluate my wife as to the underlying cause following the original surgery in January 2010.
On September 3rd 2013, we travelled to the UCLA Los Angeles for an evaluation on the 4th.
By this time, Dr Pouration had had a chance to acquaint himself with the notes and case file I had sent over, as to the fiasco that had taken place over the last 3 years & 7 months.
We entered the consulting room and finally met Dr Pouration, and for once in 3 years and 7 months I/we felt a sense of confidence, combined with a sense of relief, to the point of almost tears and incredible emotion, that this fiasco that we'd endured for so long was about to start another journey with a positive outcome!
With a discussion regarding the history of all this, and I'm sure having read this far you can imagine the contents of that conversation - he proceeded to examine my wife.
Inside 40 minutes, YES 40 minutes - he'd diagnosed exactly what the problem was!
I cannot even
begin to describe the emotion and the sense of relief that we
both felt - my wife in absolute tears of joy at this point!
then scheduled surgery for October 15th 2013, and with his
professionalism, our spirits were lifted no end - finally the end was
The words, wisdom & professiolism of Dr Pouration had certainly given us hope on the horizon and we just could not wait for October the 15th to arrive, a sort of wishing your days and life away in order to get a new lease of life.
On September the 15th we received a telephone call from Dr Pouration's assistant - Heather Kubiszewski, at the UCLA to inform us that they were looking to bring the surgery date forward to October 1st!!
At this point there was a momentary pause, and I just could not believe what I was hearing. I could not thank them enough for their professionalism, concern and could not wait to tell my wife of this incredible news!
I finally told her the news and she became that overwhelmed with delight, emotion all at once that she just broke down in tears - tears of joy with such a huge sense of relief.
The down side to our good news was, that whilst enjoying this moment she had another attack which sent her crashing to the floor - as I rushed to her aid, she looked up, tears in her eyes, with a defiant expression which said:
"Make the most of it, I'll soon be pain free!"
We rushed around making arrangements - child care etc...
We flew out to Los Angeles on September 30th and just could not believe that in 2 days or so that this problem after 3 years and 7 months would soon be a thing of the past.
October 1st came, and we received a telephone call from Jerry at the UCLA - by the way, Jerry is the surgical coordinator and runs his surgery procedures with military precision from his command centre within the hospital - this guy is so organised he can tell you at any given point what surgery is going on where, how long the patient as left in theatre, I dare say if you pushed him, he'd tell you what instrument the surgeon was using at the time! The communication is incredible, and nothing is left to assumption - the killer of all mistakes!
During the telephone call, Jerry informed us to make our way to the hospital right away, as Dr Pouration wanted to operate immediately - originally the surgery had been scheduled for the afternoon. We quickly got ready and made our way to the hospital.
When we arrived at 200 Medical Plaza, 6th floor - suite 660 - we were introduced to Jerry & the pre-op team - super people - instilled confidence - all with a smile too!
During the morning my wife had collapsed in the hotel room in pain, and the pain was constant more than normal, it was as if the anxiousness of this situation was agitating the nerve, or if you didn't know any better, it was like it was the nerves one last ditch attempt to upset things and deliver even more pain.
She undressed and into a surgical gown, ready to have vital signs taken by the nurse. Whilst lying on the bed and answering the nurses questions, my wife had her hand placed over her RLQ (Right Lower Quadrant) describing the usual underlying pain she was having, when all of a sudden the sharp stabbing pain came with such force - it immediately made her double up, and unfortunately she fell to the right of the bed, and onto the floor.
The nurse, shocked by the speed of what had happened, quickly came to her aid and shouted for assistance - we were immediately surrounded by 5 or 6 nurses all eager to help, I had leaned over the bed as I was the other side but could not reach her as she was doubled over on the floor.
The original nurse who was taking notes when this happened, was by now crouched over her trying to calm my wife and gently life her back to the bed.
Myself and the rest of the nurses released the brakes and moved the bed over, we stood and watched as my wife just kept saying: "I'll be okay it will subside in a moment."
The sad fact was, I had witnessed this moment every day for the last 3 years & 7 months - it was a shocking sight to see to a complete stranger, and my wife was right, the only sense of relief she got was to be left on the floor in the foetal position, until the pain subsided - if she dared to try & stand too soon a second wave of pain would arrive and just disable her to the floor again in agony.
As the nurses felt helpless, I did concur that my wife was right and you have no option but to leave her until she is ready to stand or she will just be disabled again.
Shortly after this incident happened, Dr Pouration arrived with the anaesthetist, the nurses and myself updated them as to what had taken place. My wife at this point was now back on the bed, with her hand on her RLQ whilst the underlying pain was still tormenting her, she was obviously very anxious - happy - but anxious regarding the surgery and so the anaesthetist kindly gave her a sedative to subdue her from all this.
She was then taken to theatre and I made my way to the waiting room after being informed surgery would be around an hour or so.
After 90 minutes I contacted Jerry for an update, he said things were fine and that surgery would be another 45 minutes or so.
Eventually, Dr Pouration came to see me in the waiting room to update me and that he was pleased with the results, and that the surgery was a success.
Around 2 to 3 hours later we left the hospital and made our way back to the hotel so she could rest properly from the surgery, and the effects of the anaesthetic etc...
My wife obviously had a restless night, but the next day (October 2nd) this was the first day in 3 years & 7 months that she'd had no underlying pain, and more importantly, not screamed out in agony & collapsed to the floor 3 times a day! Even though she was obviously very sore and uncomfortable from the abdominal surgery - she was finally pain free!
Dr Pouration had initially advised that we stay until at least October 5th as it was still early days and scheduled a follow-up appointment for October 30th.
During the week, we were asked to see Dr Pouration on October 7th as this was his first available day for clinic etc.. and if all was well, then he was happy to forgo the follow-up on the 30th and we'd stay in touch via email and phone etc... We agreed with this proposal as it seemed to make sense, and so we then arranged a few extra days stay at the hotel etc..
On October 7th we attended the clinic with Dr Pouration and his team, we were absolutely "over the moon" at the results - no pain - no collapsing to the floor - getting better and more mobile as each day passed - to say we were delighted and thrilled with the outcome was an understatement!
Dr Pouration and his team were very pleased with the results and the way things were healing etc.. and he gave us the "do's & don'ts" for the next 3 to 6 months or so and we agreed to keep in touch as to developments.
We finally said our goodbyes to Dr Pouratian and his wonderful team. Both my wife and I both felt that a simple handshake, praise, chocolates of course & no-end of thanking them, in our minds just didn't seem to "balance the scales" in terms of what they had done for us - Dr Pouratian and his team had given us our lives back - literally!!
On returning to Canada, and on reflection, I have so many questions for Alberta Health Services that I want answering its just not true!
For instance, but not limited to:
1/. Why was my
wife left in agony by the AHS for 1,347 days in pain - that's
3.75 years? Two
2/. If you add
up the hours of chronic stabbing pain, it would be the
equivalent of someone dropping
3/. Why does
Alberta - Canada for that matter, not have a nerve specialist? A
question I emailed to
have to say, I have never heard anything so ridiculous in all my
life! With a comment like that, it
4/. Who, in
the opinion of Alberta Health Services - should be held fully
responsible and held
5/. What about
my endometriosis? Where's that gone? Had we have listened to the
diagnosis of Dr
When you consider Dr Pouration at the UCLA, evaluated my wife in under 40 minutes as to what the problem was - scheduled surgery and completed that in 2 hours 15 minutes, and she is now pain free not to mention a new lease of life - it just beggars belief that the whole procedure from evaluation to surgery is not even 3 hours in total.
The financial, emotional, stress & anxiety this has caused over nearly four years due to the incompetence of Alberta Health Services and their diabolical failings as been incredible!
It also begs the question, how many more Albertans are on Lyrica and pain management when all that may be needed is a different approach?
I just count
my blessings that I happened to read a UK newspaper,
because without that I would not have discovered Dr Pouration
and dread to think where we would be now - attending pain
management classes and doped to the eye balls with Lyrica, and no
doubt brain dead - left to Alberta Health!
I'm sure Elkassem believed his technique to be correct at the time of my wife's operation, and that of the young mans in March 2010, he only discovered it was poor and improper when it was pointed out to him in court, and at the expense of a young mans life!
So effectively, my wife had an appendectomy at the Rockyview Hospital, by a surgeon "employed" by the AHS - deemed certified & competent by them, but who's surgical procedure when performing appendectomies was in actual fact incorrect and unorthodox! How scary is that?
Who knows, maybe if our concerns and complaints to Elkassem, and our family physician, had been professionally addressed, and taken seriously regarding the chronic disabling pain, during January, February & March 2010, instead of constantly being dismissed and told it was nothing more than muscle spasm, then maybe someone would have picked up on the fact regarding Elkassem's "Improper technique," and the outcome for Mr Martinez in March 2010 may have been very different - something we'll never know!
Meanwhile, my only regret in all of this, is, I wish I'd have acted sooner! Unfortunately, I put my faith and trust in premier Redford's "World Class Healthcare!"
What I have described here is really the "tip of the iceberg" so-to-speak, there is so much more to this but it's very difficult to put into words just exactly how tormented our lives have been. It was like a never-ending nightmare with no closure in sight, we have lost nearly 4 years of our lives in the process, and now this situation has now been rectified, its like our lives have been taken back in time to January 22nd 2010 - the day before surgery, when my wife was pain free - and before this fiasco started at the Rockyview Hospital in January 2010.
I'm sure the
Canadian healthcare system does some wonderful things, and I
have no wish to condemn all as that would be unfair. I'm sure
there are some wonderful doctors doing some great things within
Alberta - Canada for that matter. Whilst on the subject of this,
I would like to thank Dr Srini Chary & Janet Wilson for their
input leading up to the surgery at the UCLA.
Canadian Accountability Not Applicable During Appendectomy
If anyone suffered this horrific condition following an appendectomy, you just simply could not do your job, no matter who or what it was! Imagine the ministers I wrote to - just about to deliver a speech and then doubling up in pain crashing to the floor in agony? Imagine all the doctors, physicians, surgeons - anyone for that matter attempting to do a job professionally with this condition - obviously my wife could not work in her certified profession as Lab-Tech due to the implications of inserting needles etc...
she is a certified Lab-Tec to (British Standards) which
incredibly, & beggars belief, the British standards - just
one of many, is not
recognised by Canadian standards! Yet the amazing & incredible
thing is, Current Canadian standards & methods of blood
retrieval were in actual fact "outlawed" in Britain some 5 to 7 years ago because of the serious implications!
A big "Thank
You" to Dr Nader Pouratian!
On reflection, I find it absolutely incredible that no one in Alberta - or Canada for that matter, was capable, had the skill, determination or even a clue as to what the problem was. Left to their expertise - a life time of medication and management for something that was rectified in under 3 hours in LA by a completely different mind set - and incredible expertise! I just "thank God" we had the sense to see outside the box and pursue a different direction, which was driven and directed by Alberta Health's stupidity and incompetence - day by day.
I'm not sure which is more frightening, Alberta Health's incompetence or the fact that Alison Redford actually believes her own propaganda in which she claims:
"Alberta's world class healthcare!"
How deluded is that?
Just at the
time of posting this webpage, it was announced - not
surprisingly - that the CEO at the AHS - Dr Chris Eagle has
suddenly resigned! The health minister, Fred Horne commented:
April 19th 2014
To date, I have heard absolutely nothing from Alberta Health regarding accountability for what happened here, or our expenses claim filed in getting this resolved in Los Angeles, due to Canada not having the expertise or skill to resolve this issue - by their own admission they were absolutely clueless!
I filed the claim in October 2013 which amounted to no more than 6 pages - 2 of which were correspondence as in "why we think we should be reimbursed" given our experience over the last 3 years & 7 months, if it wasn't so serious it'd be laughable!
The other 4 pages was a list of expenditure, that's 6 months for someone at Alberta Health Services to look at 4 pages - that's the equivalent of 1.5 months per page.
Yet when it comes to Alberta Health Services, according to susanonthesoapbox.com and various other sources of news, it would seem money is no object whatsoever.
By the way, a
big 'thank you' to Susan for providing me with the details of
Just a thought, I wonder if Ms Redford, Mr Horne or Ms Smith would have to wait to be reimbursed had this happened to them? I wonder if they'd have been left to resolve it themselves? I wonder if they'd have been messed around and experimented on for 3 years & 7 months - surrounded by incompetence?
Given recent events of this Government's performance and its expenses?
"I think we all know the answers to those questions"
You seriously could not make this up if you tried.......
As Fred Horne appointed Mary Marshall - Alberta's new interim Health Advocate - I'm sure you'll agree, her post is pretty impressive. In fact, I was that impressed I thought I'd send her an email today (April 19th) to get her opinion on the "accountability factor" and also what as transpired in our case - or should I say "the lack of"!
Updates to follow.............
July 8th 2014
Well today is July 8th 2014 and I thought I'd update the site as to the developments after emailing Mary Marshall.
In a nutshell? Nothing happened - or anything of any substance anyway - am I surprised by all this? No!
After sending the email to Mary Marshall, enclosing a link to this webpage so she was fully aware of what had taken place. I then get a phone call from a Jackie Dallman (complaints analyst) now there's a title to be reckoned with - you'd think. Basically telling me how shocked they were at our experience - basically the conversation was all about what had taken place and nothing about what they intended to do about it.
I then receive a letter from Jackie Dallman on May 12th with a transcript of our conversation - and our experience - as if I didn't know story by now, but absolutely nothing about what their intentions are to resolve this issue?
In fact, she actually signed the letter off with:
"Further information about the role of the Health Advocate can be found on the website of the Alberta Health Advocates at www.albertahealthadvocates.ca "
She also enclosed a nice glossy sheet entitled "Alberta's Health Charter" this little gem gives an 11 point charter of exactly what you can expect when you interact with the health system - I don't think I need any lectures or reminders on that one.
After reading this charter, which is all about self promotion and the Alberta propaganda machine of how they all like to be seen, but by no means how they like to act. I actually discovered they contravened 6 out of 11 items of their own charter!
On May 28th, I then sent Ms Dallman another letter outlining the 6 breaches of 11 relating to the Alberta's Health Charter.
Click here to see a copy of the letter: Ms Dallman
As to the date of this post (July 8th 2014) no reply whatsoever! Am I surprised by all this? Of course not because Marshall and Dallman are just doing what 99% of Alberta officials do when they haven't a clue how to resolve things - they ignore it - and in their minds that's being professional! Ignore it for as long as you can, then ignore it again and eventually it will go away - that to them is a result - that's the extent of their professionalism.
As you no doubt read earlier, Fred Horne ignored several of my letters asking for his intervention when my wife was left in a diabolical state. I then sent an email to a journalist who reported on the case of Andreas Martinez, who was killed by the same surgeon during a routine appendectomy. Then, as if by magic, and I seriously doubt David Blaine could have pulled this one off, within 1 hour of emailing a journalist, I get a reply from Fred Horne - after 6 months of no replies! What does that tell you about who controls what in Alberta?
Talking of Alberta Health, incompetence, being unprofessional & just simply ignoring things until it goes away. I had another reply last week which just sums up Alberta Health's professional, ethics, accountability to a tee.
During October 2013, after my wife had returned from having professional and expert care at the UCLA in Los Angeles - just a reminder at this point - 3 years and 7 months left in agony, left unable to earn or work due to the state she was left in by Alberta Health's so-called physicians - and still clueless! Only to have the diagnosis in LA by a determined and highly skilled professional in just under 40 minutes - YES! I kid you not, 3 years & 7 months in Alberta verses 40 minutes in Los Angeles!
After returning from Los Angeles - to which the surgery was a total success - that's serious professionalism - actual results verses Redford's "dream propaganda" of a "World Class Health Service" I obviously had incurred large expenses just under $5,000.00 in total - surgery was covered by OOCHS - which is nothing short of what I'd expect - its not my fault that the AHS physicians cannot sort out the problem, and lack the necessary skills to resolve the issue.
Furthermore, this problem was not created by ourselves, it was not a natural health occurrence, this whole fiasco was created by a surgeon with an unorthodox technique - a surgeon that 2 months later killed a young man with that unorthodox method - a surgeon employed/hired by Alberta Health Services!
I was then advised by Janet Wilson (Our patient care relations officer) to file what they call a 20792 claim against the AHS for our out of pocket expenses and that I need to state why I think I should be entitled to reimbursement - seriously? I really need to explain all this again? Are you seriously saying that you haven't a clue as to; morally, ethically, accountability & responsibility wise, why I shouldn't have my expenses reimbursed?
So, I followed the instructions as advised by Janet Wilson and on October 11th 2013 I filed a claim to Ms Wilson via email.
Time ticked by with no real update, I was then advised by Ms Wilson she was taking leave and the case was now passed to a Lisa Dietz "who had been brought fully up to speed."
I'll spare you the pitiful experience, but it was pretty obvious she had not been brought up to speed or the case whatsoever.
I used to just adore her one liners which were always:
"I know the process can be frustrating. I really appreciate your continued patience."
I then get an email saying Janet Wilson had now returned and was taking over the case again - good news you'd think, someone who has been involved with this case since April 2013.
Despite no end of emails requesting an update regarding the claim - there was no news and I was now advised it had gone to legal - how interesting.....
Despite further requests for updates - after 4 months of being filed, I asked who the people were that were dealing with it - a name and contact number so I could chase it.
The reply from Janet Wilson was;
"I sent your email to legal, but they did not send any contact details I was told there is no update and we'll contact you when there is one" - professional as ever...
After hearing nothing, I sent another email and on June 25th received this reply from a Mr R.J. Mielke who is the Executive director & Principal Attorney for the;
'Provincial Health Authorities Of Alberta Liability & Property Insurance Plan'
Wow! Now there's a title if ever there was one - lots of responsibility and accountability there - you'd think, I mean we're talking liability for Alberta in the title - not a board - but the decision of one man it would seem
So after almost 9 months to the day after filing the claim, step in Mr R.J. Mielke with his reply:
Again, am I supposed to be surprised by the incompetence? No, of course of not! In fact, I'd have actually been shocked and elated had it have been professional.
As you can see, not only did Janet Wilson give me incorrect information according to Bob - (which would not be the first time she has done that) the 20792 claim she told me to file was incorrect, yet she then forwarded the claim to legal for perusal by even more AHS boffins who clearly being clueless then passed it to good old Bob at the "Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta" who then sent that reply!
So, out of all the people that reviewed it, not one of them knew that it should be filed with the Royal College Of Surgeons - not one! Thank heavens for good old Bob eh?
One thing I did find interesting in the letter from 'good old Bob' was that it would seem all Physicians in Alberta are hired hands - a sort of 'gun slingers for hire scenario' and that when the AHS employ these people should they maim, injure or kill anyone they accept no responsibility or accountability according to good old Bob - because they're hired hands.
Interesting that, show me exactly where you advise me of that 'important detail' on the consent form I signed giving consent for a surgeon YOU employed not me - but the AHS - Dr Samer Elkassem - with his unorthodox technique for appendectomy - not to mention killing someone 2 months after my wife's surgery performing another appendectomy.
Show me where it says that the surgeon performing the operation is a hired hand and that if things go wrong we (AHS) accept no responsibility and they'll be no accountability whatsoever!
Show me where I signed to that degree?!
When I signed that consent form, I signed to have my wife operated & cared for by a professional expert employed by the AHS who'd I have expected to have been tested and his technique signed and certified as to his expertise - this obviously didn't happen as you'd have seen and been aware his technique for carrying out an appendectomy was unorthodox - his unorthodox technique was only discovered 2 months after my wife's - at the expense of a young mans life!
When I first spoke to Janet Wilson (April 2013) when she first introduced herself to me - asking what concerns I had regarding my wife's surgery, and the shocking state she was left in, she was quick to deny all responsibility and accountability in the initial phone conversation saying;
"All surgeons in Alberta are hired and we do not take any kid of responsibility or accountability for their actions"
Totally shocked by this, I then emailed her quoting exactly what she said during the phone call - she was quick to email me back saying that I'd misunderstood her and it wasn't quite like that.
Not according to 'good old Bob' he said exactly what you told me in April 2013 - and I believe that to be true - because your actions ZERO accountability endorse that fact!
On July 4th, I wrote to both 'good old Bob' and Janet Wilson - asking them to explain themselves and who is going to held accountable for my expenditure for their incompetence?
You guessed it, no reply - they're just following the Albertan tradition of ignoring it until goes away. I even asked for a read receipt for both emails I sent and two more since. Not even a reply for the read receipt, that gives you some idea of exactly how professional and ethical as to the outfits you're dealing with here.
Not one part of this is fiasco is any fault of ours, it is not our fault that Alberta, Canada for that matter, does not have the necessary or required skills, know how or the medical expertise to solve a relatively simple problem. It is further no fault our of ours that we were left with no alternative but to travel to Los Angeles, at great expense to ourselves to get a Canadian mess resolved because the AHS were totally incapable of doing so - this I want reimbursing for! Not to mention my wife's loss of earnings over 3 years & 7 months - mine too.
On reflection as to the way we have been treated by the AHS, a few things spring to mind;
think I'd have had more professionalism and accountability from
a Columbian drugs cartel or a
wonder if this had happened to Ms Redford, Mr Eagle, Mr Horne,
Ms Wilson or
'good old Bob' that
I consider our experience of the AHS, and the standard of their
professionalism all round - I
"Alberta's World Class Healthcare"
You can ignore me as much as you like, but there's no way this is going away soon I can promise you that - not until I have put you on the world stage showing exactly the standards and exactly how ethical and professional you people and Alberta really are!
Its an utter disgrace and an insult to the words accountability and responsibility!
There will shortly be a You tube video showing exactly what my wife was left to endure for 3 years & 7 months at the hands of Alberta Health Services......
August 25th 2014
Well I received a reply to my letter from Horne, which I won't bother to debate as it was full of his self promotion and delusion - what a joke that guy is. How he has the audacity to hold the position he does just tells me how ridiculous his superiors are and the fact they don't care - which is probably the latter.
His reply was outlining his reply to me in March 2013 - the one where he replied because a journalist kicked his backside into replying as he'd ignored my previous 3 letters over 4 months, and speaking of journalists and who actually runs Alberta, truth, transparency, BS & not forgetting propaganda of course - what's good for Albertan's to hear and all in the public interest because, we wouldn't want them to really find out how bad things - and how really incompetent we are now would we? Especially as we have been telling them for years how good it all is.
I came across this article by CBC news who covered the case of Andreas Martinez, he was the poor kid who died 2 months after my wife's horrific surgery - same surgeon, same hospital, same procedure - all our concerns were ignored by the surgeon, Alberta Health, by everyone following my wife's surgery. As I have previously stated many many times - had someone have listened I firmly believe Andreas Martinez would be alive today.
So, having discovered this news article by CBC, watching the video you'll see its covered by a Bryan Labby - here's the article:
Very sad indeed! After reading the article & watching the video, I then saw this on CBC's website:
From CBC, could it be truth, good PR, propaganda, they actually believe and care, self promotion, or just good old fashioned plain Albertan bullshit?
So I thought I'd put their claims to the test, I emailed Kathy Tomlinson - she didn't even bother to reply, so I mailed Bryan Labby who covered the article on August 13th with a link to this page and briefly what had taken place.
He replied with:
I never heard from him when he said he would reply, no email no call - nothing, so I emailed him today (25th August) to get an update.
This was his reply today:
Wow! What happened to the "Go-public, holding powers at be accountable, the stories you want public"? I guess its the latter - "Good old fashioned Albertan bullshit!" They seem to dish that out wholesale!
I'm sure you can draw
your own conclusions from the reply. The editor - along with
Labby have obviously seen how incompetent the AHS, the
physician's in Alberta - but more importantly the fact that
Andreas Martinez died - imagine the implications of that? We
raised our concerns about the surgeon after my wife's
surgery, no one listened, then this kid dies 2 months later?
"You heard it first on CBC news, only on CBC news, bringing Albertan's and Calgarian's all the latest up to date news, get the latest from the team you can count on!"
Their self promotion twaddle is laughable! Labby could not even be bothered to follow up on his email when he said he would - they just join the catalogue of people who just ignore issues and hope it all goes away. As this seems to be a familiar theme when things go wrong - to just simply ignore it - and so many do, I'm beginning to think its an educational thing, taught at school as part of the curriculum - to just simply ignore things, its just bizarre that the trend is to ignore an issue until it goes away and in their eyes - that's dealing with it!
It would seem that CBC news, for something that's the truth, shocking, disgusting, embarrassing, is it good for the province to hear? Think of all the other people that might flood the phone lines if this was to get out? Maybe that's why the editor was so quick to pull the plug on Labby? For fear of the truth? Or maybe he plays Golf with Horne?
It would seem all CBC
want to report is Mrs Smith who lost her dog recently - the
truth, transparency, accountability & responsibility - are
words, like the ministers Horne use frequently, but its more
about how they want to be seen - and by no means how they
want to act - they're words they can only dream about living
up to in Alberta!
Canadian Healthcare &