Edmonton

L.A. surgeon offers to train Canadian doctors in procedure

The Los Angeles-based surgeon that at least three Albertans credit with changing their lives said he's willing to train Canadian doctors in a procedure for removing cysts on the pineal gland deep in the brain.

The Los Angeles-based surgeon that at least three Albertans credit with changing their lives said he's willing to train Canadian doctors in a procedure for removing cysts on the pineal gland deep in the brain.

"If I get invited up there, I am more than happy to come up there and show them how it's done," Dr. Hrayr Shahinian said.

Shahinian says he operates on about a dozen Canadians a year at a cost of $200,000 per surgery.

CBC News has talked to three Alberta patients who went to his clinic for the procedure after Canadian doctors told them there was nothing that could be done.

L.A. surgeon Dr. Hrayr Shahinian says he is willing to train Canadian doctors in a procedure to remove pineal gland cysts. (CBC)
Calgary patient Katherine Wick had her operation one year ago and is now symptom-free. She, like the others, is trying to convince the province to reimburse her six-figure medical bill.

"The amount I cost the medical system for the seven, eight years of going to the doctor, multiple times a month, taking multiple drugs, and costing the health care system with hospital visits and doctor visits, now I cost the system nothing," she said.

Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky has called for a review in the case of Shane Wambolt, the Fort McMurray man who recently had his request for reimbursement rejected by the Out of Country Services committee. Shahinian removed a cyst from Wambolt's pineal gland in November.

Zwozdesky said he is intrigued by Shahinian's offer to train Alberta doctors in his procedure.

"I'm very open to any suggestions like that," he said.  "My first inclination was to pick up the phone and call him but I'm going to leave that to the medical people to do as well."

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