COVID-19: Saskatoon mother frustrated after son’s appointments, surgery cancelled

Fewer than 30 new COVID-19 cases reported in Waterloo Region for 3rd straight day


A Saskatoon mother is frustrated and anxious about her son’s health care now that some surgeries, appointments and organ transplants are cancelled indefinitely in Saskatchewan until COVID-19 numbers come down.

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Keeley Buckley wants to remind people that others are suffering due to the slowdown of services.

“I can’t imagine the horror I’d feel if he needed a space in the ICU and it was taken up by somebody unvaccinated,” Buckley said.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced on Thursday that organ donation would be paused and a slowdown of elective procedures would continue.

Derek Miller with the SHA said six-week urgent surgeries and procedures would continue, though.

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Three-year-old Elijah was born with a rare primary immuno-deficiency disease called 22q.11 deletion syndrome and requires critical care on a regular basis.

“It’s basically a piece of his 22nd chromosome is missing and it affects basically every system in his body,” his mother explained.

Elijah battles seizures, a heart defect, difficulty breathing and swallowing, poor muscle tone, gastrointestinal issues and many more concerns on a daily basis. He also has autism and is non-verbal.

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Seek appropriate health care when needed, says Saskatchewan Health Authority

When Elijah was just two-months-old, he had an emergency open-heart surgery.

“We’re so lucky that his heart was able to be repaired and he doesn’t need another surgery or a heart transplant, but there are families in Saskatchewan who aren’t as lucky,” Buckley said.

“I saw them firsthand at the pediatric cardiac ICU waiting for their kids to get heart transplants. I can’t imagine the horror, the dread and the panic that they must be feeling right now,” Buckley said.

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Before the pandemic, Elijah would regularly see more than ten different specialists to make sure he was still healthy — and since he is non-verbal, he can’t say if he doesn’t feel well.

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Elijah has not seen a specialist in over 18 months.

“He really does need to see a specialist, I can’t communicate with him that well if something is wrong, so these appointments are really important to me,” Buckley said.

When she found out two pediatric appointments and a surgery were cancelled with no option to re-book because hospitals are overwhelmed, mainly with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, she became frustrated.

Click to play video: 'Humboldt Bronco father asks Saskatchewan to unite again and get vaccinated'

Humboldt Bronco father asks Saskatchewan to unite again and get vaccinated

Humboldt Bronco father asks Saskatchewan to unite again and get vaccinated

“It is frustrating that Elijah has to suffer his health care because of people who are taking up spaces that my child might need,” she said.

“We got vaccinated right away, hoping that would keep Elijah safe and help get things back to normal for him. It is frustrating that I feel like we do have the potential to get back to normal sooner, but right now our hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 cases.”

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Elijah has been waiting for the surgery for over a year before it was cancelled. He’s also been waiting for an MRI scan for two years.

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While she is glad he isn’t in the condition where he does need immediate medical attention, she wishes people would get vaccinated so he can continue getting the important care he needs.

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“I just hope that seeing more cases like this, more families, and more real people that are affected like this, it might change their mind.”

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