COVID-19: Saskatoon mom annoyed after son’s appointments, surgical procedure cancelled

A Saskatoon mother is frustrated and concerned about her son’s health care after some surgeries, appointments and organ transplants in Saskatchewan are being canceled indefinitely until COVID-19 numbers drop.

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Keeley Buckley wants to remind people that others are suffering from the slowdown in services.

“I can’t imagine the horror I would feel if he needed an intensive care unit and it was occupied by someone who wasn’t vaccinated,” Buckley said.

The Saskatchewan Health Department (SHA) announced Thursday that organ donation is on hold and a slowdown in electoral processes will continue.

However, SHA’s Derek Miller said the six-week urgent surgeries and procedures would continue.

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Three-year-old Elijah was born with a rare primary immunodeficiency disease called 22q.11 deletion syndrome and needs regular intensive care.

“Basically, a piece of his 22nd chromosome is missing and it affects virtually every system in his body,” explained his mother.

Elijah fights daily against seizures, a heart defect, breathing and swallowing difficulties, poor muscle tone, gastrointestinal problems and many other worries. He also has autism and is non-verbal.

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When Elijah was just two months old, he had an open heart operation.

“We’re so lucky that his heart has been repaired and he doesn’t need another surgery or heart transplant, but there are families in Saskatchewan who are not that lucky,” said Buckley.

“I saw them firsthand in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, waiting for their children to have a heart transplant. I can’t imagine the horror, fear, and panic you must feel now, ”Buckley said.

Before the pandemic, Elijah regularly visited more than ten different specialists to make sure he was still healthy – and since he’s non-verbal, he can’t tell if he’s not feeling well.

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Elijah hasn’t seen a specialist in over 18 months.

“He really needs a specialist, I can’t communicate well with him when something is wrong, so these appointments are very important to me,” said Buckley.

When she found out that two pediatric appointments and an operation had been canceled with no option to rebook because hospitals were overwhelmed, mostly with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, she became frustrated.

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Humboldt Bronco’s father asks Saskatchewan to reunite and get vaccinated

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“It’s frustrating that Elijah is suffering from his health care needs because people are occupying rooms that my child may need,” she said.

“We were vaccinated immediately in the hope that this would protect Elijah and help him get things back to normal. It’s frustrating that I feel we have the potential to return to normal sooner, but right now our hospitals are inundated with unvaccinated COVID-19 cases. “

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Elijah waited over a year for the operation before it was canceled. He’s also been waiting for an MRI scan for two years.

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While she is glad he is not in a condition where he needs immediate medical attention, she wants people to be vaccinated so that he can continue to receive the vital care he needs.

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

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