Shona's Health Care Nightmare

Shona Holmes is a Canadian citizen. She came to the United States to warn lawmakers at the Republican Health Care Solutions Group hearing last Thursday about the dangers of government-run healthcare. Shona survived a brain tumor, having surgery performed at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. The subject of a national ad campaign for Patients United Now, she is also warning the American people.

Shona sat down with HUMAN EVENTS this week for an interview.

After seeing her primary care physician in Canada, Shona was given a wait time of four to six months to see a specialist. She was experiencing serious problems with her vision; she rapidly gained weight and began exhibiting other strong indications of an aggressive brain tumor.

“The most worrisome problem to me was my vision,” Shona said. “There were a lot of physical changes but my vision started to go. So my family doctor set up an appointment with a neurologist and an endocrinologist and, from the onset of my symptoms, it was four to six months to see a specialist. They were in two different hospitals in two different cities.”

After talking with friends in the United States, they urged her to see a specialist here. After making calls to try to get a specialist in Canada to at least give her a diagnosis, she began calling America.

“I have a lot of American friends and they were ranting and raving at me saying don’t be crazy, go see another doctor,” Shona said. “And I said it just doesn’t work like that in Canada. I can’t. So I tried to move those appointments up. You can’t. They don’t even have wait lists. They don’t even take your name. They don’t even ask what’s wrong.”

“So I called a couple of hospitals in the U.S. and was told to go immediately to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona,” Shona continued. “I spent a week there and got a full diagnosis.”

The doctors she happened to see at Mayo were Canadian. Shona said that made her feel more comfortable. Everyone in Canada had told her that American doctors were only after money. The doctors told her to go home and get the surgery she required since she had coverage there. They said they would make some calls and inform the doctors in Canada of the urgency. The tumor was pressing on her optic nerve. She was three to four weeks from permanently losing her eyesight, at best. The outlook was grim.

Diagnosis in hand, she still could not get in to see the specialists. And to make matters worse, once back in Canada, she and her husband got a call from doctors at the Mayo clinic informing them further tests showed she had another tumor. Even with that information, Canadian doctors refused to take her out of the scheduled order, the first of her two appointments at this point still being over a month away, the second over two months away.

Shona and her husband made the decision, borrowed money from every friend and family member, took a second mortgage on their house and paid for the surgery in Arizona. She was sure she could get reimbursed by the Canadian government, as she found out they had already sent 36 patients that month to America for brain surgery.

“They admitted there’s a shortage of neurosurgeons, they’ve admitted that the wait times are too dangerous but because I went without that pre-approval, they wouldn’t pay for it,” Shona said.

She said she’s still had issues with the health care system at home. Getting a diagnosis on adrenal issues from two more tumors was a struggle.

“There was one test that could diagnose my problems,” Shona said. “It’s an 8 a.m. blood draw and an 11 p.m. blood draw. Our labs are only open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a normal day, sometimes 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I’m not allowed to go into a hospital and have a blood draw done at 11 o’clock at night. It’s illegal. So I couldn’t get that test.”

“I’ve actually had to fly to Los Angeles,” Shona continued. “Had my blood done in the morning in Canada and flew to Los Angeles, had a blood test done and they diagnosed me [snapping fingers] like that.”

Shona said it took three years in the Canadian health care system before she finally had surgery to remove the adrenal tumors. But she says her life and her eyesight were saved thanks to the American health care system.

Shona has suffered vicious attacks at the hands of the Obama-bot bloggers who hate anyone who doesn’t worship at the Big O. She’s even been the brunt of harsh attacks by her own hometown newspaper for daring to speak out about the perils of government-run health care.

“The people who are supposed to care about sick people, the backlash I’ve experienced since I’ve spoken out, I’m shocked,” Shona said. “I’m really shocked.”

Welcome to the Obamination. What is becoming abundantly clear here these days is if America surrenders to government-run health care, it’s going to kill a lot of Canadians, too.