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Cancellation of non-emergency surgeries leaves local woman in constant pain

'But this is really nothing compared to what others are going through with delays. We have seen loss of life because of delays,' says Springwater woman

After waiting for nearly two years for her knee surgery to be rescheduled, Tanya Melo has pretty much given up.

The Springwater Township resident was all set to undergo surgery to repair the meniscus in her right knee in March 2020 at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) when she received a call informing her the surgery was being cancelled due to COVID-19. 

“At that time, they were just starting to slow things down,” said Melo, adding she was told she’d get a call back to reschedule her surgery.

Now, 22 months later, she still has yet to receive that call and has had to learn to live with the daily pain.

“I am just used to it now. There are things that are not comfortable, like bending down. If I over bend… it’s like somebody is shooting pins from the inside out. It’s not all the time and it was worse at the beginning, but there are certain things like running around with the grandson and all of a sudden (the pain hits),” she said.

“I have been very fortunate… I don’t have to be out and active in the workforce, so for me it’s been OK, but my concern is for people (where these cancellations) really impact their health. My little knee problem is nothing compared to what some people are going through," Melo added. 

Melo says one of her daughters lost a close friend last year after she was unable to access cancer testing. 

“Five months after (she was supposed to have that six-month follow-up test) she was finally able to get a test, but by that point it was too late. She was full of cancer. She was 27 years old and died last year.”

While Melo admits there was no guarantee finding her cancer would have changed the outcome for her daughter's friend, the delay in surgeries and other medical procedures could have life and death implications.

“If they had found it earlier would they have been able to do anything? I don’t know, but the point being that those are the people where it really matters,” she said. “My third daughter is a nurse, and seeing what they’re going through right now… it’s crazy.”

With hospitals once again temporarily pausing all non-emergency surgeries and outpatient procedures to preserve bed capacity and maintain safe staffing levels, Melo says she's pretty much giving up hope that her surgery will occur any time soon.

“When it is, it will have to be way far out of COVID for me to feel safe, but this is really nothing compared to what others are going through with delays. We have seen loss of life because of delays.”