CARP demands action in Cancer Case

CARP is taking up the case of Sylvia de Vries, the Windsor woman who spent $60,000 in the U.S. for life-saving ovarian cancer surgery in October, 2006. Her subsequent claim for compensation has been denied by OHIP. We wrote to Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman to suggest strongly that he reconsider his decision to not intervene. We will post his reply as soon as we receive it.

March 14, 2008

Hon. George Smitherman Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and Deputy Premier 80 Grosvenor Street 10th Floor, Hepburn Block Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4

Dear Minister:

Re: Reimbursement for Out of Province Medical Treatment – Sylvia De Vries

I am writing to strongly urge you to exercise your discretion to ensure that Sylvia de Vries is reimbursed for the costs of emergency medical care that she was unable to receive in Ontario. As I understand it, she would have suffered multiple organ failure had she waited and not undergone the five hour operation to remove an 18 kilogram cancerous growth that was threatening her life.

As you know, CARP has advocated for better and more timely health care, especially critical care, and where it is not available in Ontario, that it be paid for by the Ontario government. We accept that there must be proper review processes but to deny reimbursement in this case because she failed to get prior approval is simply unacceptable.

The bureaucratic and unsympathetic answers given on your behalf by Ministry spokespeople are a great disservice both to Ontarians who rely on the health system when they are most in need and to your own reputation for compassion and common sense.

We are anticipating that you will take swift action to resolve this matter.


Susan Eng

VP Advocacy

VIEW MEDIA REPORTS “Smitherman won’t intervene in cancer survivor’s OHIP battle”