Winnipeg's Betty Clark got the news she was hoping for on Tuesday. A representative from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) called the 83-year-old and informed her the government will pay the cost of fixing a tooth that was broken during a procedure at St. Boniface Hospital in May.

"The representative from the WRHA phoned me and gave me the bad news/good news scenario,"said Clark. The bad news was the insurance company denied her claim, the good news was the WRHA would cover it.

Clark believes the only reason the WRHA is paying her $1,024 dentist bill is because she spoke up for herself and did not give up even after her letters and calls went unanswered for weeks.

"I've got a big mouth," she joked.

The Patient Relations Office at St. Boniface Hospital had initially informed her the WRHA does not cover damage to teeth.

"The selfish part of me says, 'Thank goodness it's going to be paid,' but the justice part of me doesn't think that it's quite right," Clark said. 

Clark would like to see the WRHA develop a blanket policy to pay whenever a patient has to cover expenses, dental or otherwise, that result from a hospital mistake.

"I don't understand how someone can go in and have a procedure done and have something happen and you get left holding the bag – or in my case, half a tooth," said Clark.

Clark would also like to see better communication from the WHRA. In the meantime, she has advice for other patients:

"If everybody in Manitoba stood up for what they thought was right, what a wonderful place this would be. Just stand up for your rights and fight for what you think is right."