"You’re literally spending your retirement money trying to make yourself well. I mean they don’t offer any kind of assistance. They don’t pay for your airfare, nothing, nothing, they just wash their hands of it when you become a part of the program."From the Chronical-Herald in Halifax, Nova Scotia:
LOUISDALE — Nova Scotia families shouldn’t have to suffer financial ruin waiting for out-of-province medical procedures, says a Liberal member of the legislature.
Michel Samson is calling on the province’s ruling Conservatives to provide financial assistance to people like Marilyn MacKay of Louisdale, who’s awaiting a double lung transplant.
MacKay has been living in Ontario since August 2007, and is required to be near her Toronto hospital in case a suitable donor is found. It took a year-and-a-half for MacKay to even be put on a waiting list for surgery.
Along with her husband Ken, the family has already spent about $20,000 for living expenses and air travel. Double lung transplants are not available in Nova Scotia.
"They’ve drained their own personal assets," said Samson. "They’re now left at a point that they have to make a decision as to how much longer she can stay in Toronto before they exhaust their finances."
Samson is requesting a financial assistance program for all Nova Scotians who must leave the province for organ transplants.
The Liberal party wants to see the government create a program similar to one in Newfoundland and Labrador, which provides up to $2,200 per month toward living expenses and covers airline flights so a patient’s spouse can visit.
When reached in Mississauga, Ont., Marilyn MacKay, who will turn 57 on Monday, said she will continue to advocate for assistance until something is changed.
"When you don’t get the lungs you become terminal, so basically we’re under a lot of stress here," said MacKay, who was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease.
"You’re literally spending your retirement money trying to make yourself well. I mean they don’t offer any kind of assistance. They don’t pay for your airfare, nothing, nothing, they just wash their hands of it when you become a part of the program."
The family has been receiving donations from members of the community, including a fundraiser.
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