Manitoba Daily

Monday, November 29, 2021

A Manitoba guy travels to another country for knee surgery

Key takeaways:

  • A Manitoba man claims he wants to raise awareness about the issue of extended waiting lists for elective surgery.

A guy from Manitoba says he wants to raise awareness about the issue of long waiting lists for people who seek elective surgery.

Max Johnson told 680 CJOB that he was fed up with waiting for elective knee surgery and decided to travel to Lithuania to get it done straight away. He has now invoiced the province for the cost.

He doesn’t expect to be reimbursed, but he says he felt compelled to act before his health worsened, and he hopes his storey would draw attention to the issue.

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“I don’t particularly blame the system — they’re doing it as quickly as they can,” he added, “but now we have thousands of individuals on this pretend waitlist who are growing sick all the time.”

The journey to Lithuania cost $14,500, which included the knee replacement and two weeks of rehabilitation, compared to the approximately $21,000 cost of the procedure in Manitoba.

Part of the issue, according to Johnson, is that the phrase “elective” doesn’t always convey the gravity of many Manitobans’ situations.

“The term ‘elective’ implies that it is optional rather than mandatory. However, many people in this city and province cannot move because they are awaiting hip and knee surgery.

“No, it isn’t a choice.”

The province has been contacted for comment by Global News.

Johnson said he hopes Manitoba’s healthcare system acknowledges the necessity of some elective surgeries, even from an economic standpoint. However, the invoice he submitted to the government was more to make a point than to receive an actual reimbursement.

“Above importantly, it allows people to return to work and pay taxes into the system — so instead of being idle for two years, you can return and participate.”

“They call it a waiting list, but it suggests administration, and it’s more comparable to putting them in a vast corral.”

According to the Canadian Joint Replacement Registry’s summer 2021 report, hip and knee replacements are two of the most prevalent procedures in Canada, with over 138,000 surgeries per year and yearly inpatient expenditures of over $1.4 billion.

Source: CBC News

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