Thursday, April 22, 2010

"So absurd as to defy comprehension"

The Star Phoenix editorial board weighs in on the Sask Party's negligence in handling the province's kidney transplant program:
The "Patient First" recommendation by its health care consultant Tony Dagnone apparently forgotten, the government is doing only now what it should have done months ago if it's objective was to recruit transplant specialists whose skillsets would replace urologists and vascular surgeons.

That this direction was taken without apparent consultation with Dr. Ahmed Shoker, head of the transplant program, is so absurd as to defy comprehension.

No wonder that he says he's "frustrated and losing hope." As Dr. Shoker points out, even a continued and prolonged delay in restarting the transplant program has potentially damaging consequences, with the skills of all team members eroding over time.

Even when it comes to the issue of dollars and cents, to keep each transplant patient on dialysis costs about $40,000 a year while the first year costs of a transplant are about $25,000. There should be every incentive in the world for budget-conscious politicians and bureaucrats to obtain the required transplants as soon as possible, without having people languish on dialysis for months or years.
(Don) McMorris says the government will bend its rules about paying only for the procedure itself when patients are sent out of province for treatment, and pay for the cost of travel and accommodation for each kidney transplant patient and a caregiver.

This only further adds to the cost of the out-of-province transplants paid for by the government, which has deemed the remuneration demands of vascular surgeons as too excessive.

Some public explanation of the cost-benefit considerations in this issue would be highly welcome, given the high personal price being paid by Saskatchewan patients and a once-renowned kidney transplant program that's slowly being eroded through neglect.

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