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

PHOTO: Abbotsford’s dashing first police constable

Police post throwback photo on their social media accounts

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

VIDEO: Abbotsford driver uses aisle of bus for rainy-day cardio routine

Driver makes productive use of his break for an on-board walking session

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read