The wife of an Osoyoos man living in pain for nearly three years and awaiting hip surgery appeared at the B.C. Legislature Monday in hopes of speeding up the process of his hip replacement.
Lee Horn waited nearly two years for doctors to diagnose the reason for his pain and has been waiting an additional 500 days for surgery.
On Monday, his wife, Gaye Horn, sat in the gallery of the B.C. Legislature, while the NDP demanded answers from the provincial government. Lee Horn was in too much pain to appear himself.
“I want my husband back,” said Gaye Horn.
“Imagine being a former college football player sitting inside, watching his wife with two bad knees shoveling the driveway. That’s what waiting for heath care looks like,” she said.
‘Liberal government has not been there for us’
Horn said her husband was a strong and active man but started experiencing pain during an annual trip in 2014.
She said she has watched him deteriorate ever since while awaiting a hip replacement.
“The wait is horrific. It has gone on forever,” she said.
“We’ve paid into a system all our lives, so that when we get to this age and something goes wrong, we believed, wrongly, that the government would be there for us.”
“The Liberal government has not been there for us. They keep cutting, cutting and cutting.”
Health Minister Terry Lake responds
NDP health critic Judy Darcy took the Horns’ concerns directly to the minister of health Monday.
“Lee has been languishing in pain for 903 days,” said Darcy.
“Will the minister please tell Gaye and her husband if he thinks it’s acceptable that Lee has had to wait almost three years in excruciating pain to get his hip surgery?”
Health Minister Terry Lake responded by saying the province has seen a drastic increase in both knee and hip replacements in the past 15 years — both have gone up by more than 100 per cent.
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“There’s no question that a growing and aging population puts demands on the health care system,” said Lake.
“We recognize that in some parts of the province there are unacceptable wait times. We are working very hard to get to the people who have waited the longest,” he said.
Lake also pointed out that the government recently allocated $25 million to pay for an additional 5,000 surgeries.
However, Darcy said that funding does not go far enough.
“It’s unconscionable that the health care system has left Lee in debilitating pain for more than three years,” said Darcy.
“And the outrageous thing is that Lee isn’t alone. There are thousands of more people like him who have been waiting in pain for years.”
With files from Radio West and Richard Zussman.