Alberta’s Third World health care system

As a senior who is on his second hip replacement, I would like to bring to the attention of the powers to be in our health system and to all citizens who have to visit a surgeon or any other specialist.

As a senior who is on his second hip replacement, I would like to bring to the attention of the powers to be in our health system and to all citizens who have to visit a surgeon or any other specialist.

I called the minister of Health Department in Edmonton and was told that a hip replacement was not on the priority list. It is not a life-or-death situation, so you must wait.

Maybe when a hip just starts to hurt in the first few months, this may be true. However, once the deterioration is gone to bone on bone, the pain is excruciating and no medication works. I have suffered for the last three months in the most excruciating pain one can bear. Twelve Tylenol No. 4 per day plus two Percocet and still most days this has very little effect. The pain is there 24/7.

I would like to hear from others with the same problem. Why do we put up with it? Do we have to demonstrate in front of the legislature buildings in wheelchairs?

The last hip replacement, I went to the Mayo Clinic and the hip was replaced seven days after the first phone call. I received a phone call from the Red Deer Hip and Knee Clinic 11½ months after referral, which was booked in March 2010. I received a call to see surgeon on Feb. 17, 2011. This was not for surgery, only an interview.

After paying taxes for 60 years, I do not believe that anyone should suffer excruciating pain for months or years. This is just not acceptable. I am fortunate enough that I can pay for another hip replacement in the U.S. on March 6. Even if I couldn’t afford it, I would mortgage my house to get relief from this pain. I feel sorry for people who cannot afford it. We should be able to receive this treatment at home in a reasonable time frame — e.g. one to three months.

In my estimation, the health system is out of control and is unaccountable. Once you get into the system, it is fine, but to get there is next to impossible, unless it’s an emergency. Just because health care is supposed to be free, which is the furthest thing from the truth, many people think it’s great. If you can’t get help when you need it, then it’s worthless.

Because operations are not performed when they’re supposed to be, they become more complicated and more expensive. I would like anyone suffering as I am to let your voices be heard. This nonsense has gone on for far too long.

Bill Welikoklad

Red Deer