Man receives biopsy after news coverage of 3-month wait for cancer diagnosis

An elderly Winnipeg man who waited more than three months for a procedure to confirm his cancer diagnosis has undergone a biopsy.

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority denies media stories played a role in procedure's timing

George Myer, 81, was told in September he likely had lung cancer. On Friday, he received a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. (Submitted by Manitoba Liberal Party)

An elderly Winnipeg man who waited more than three months for a procedure to confirm his cancer diagnosis has undergone a biopsy.

George Myer, 81, received a biopsy of his liver on Friday at noon at Seven Oaks General Hospital.

"We're relieved that it's finally been done because it should have been done a long time ago," his daughter Kathryn Braun said on the phone Monday.

Myer learned Sept. 13, 2018, that there was a growth on his right lung and it was possibly cancerous. Since then, he has waited to have the suspicion confirmed.

While in a sort of medical limbo, Myer was unable to start treatment. He also was prevented from making an informed choice about palliative care, should he wish to receive it.

His family, supported by the Manitoba Liberal Party, held a news conference on Jan. 8 to publicize the delay.

At the time, they believed Myer wouldn't get his biopsy until March. Braun believes her dad's biopsy last week was a direct result of media attention.

"I feel bad that it had to take this step in order to get it," she said.

A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said in an email to CBC that health-care decisions are based on medical evidence, clincial best practices and professional standards. 

"[Physicians and other health-care professionals] are tasked with making difficult decisions about patient care every day, and those decisions are based on science and medical expertise, regardless of the public's awareness of a case," the spokesperson said.

The biopsy was done on Myer's liver, where a spot appeared after the initial lesion was found on his lung, Braun said.

Braun, a nurse practitioner, believes the spot on his liver is a sign cancer has spread during the time her father waited for a diagnosis.

"If he would have had it done initially, like when we wanted it done, it might not have been in his liver," she said. 

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and officials from Seven Oaks General Hospital met with the family and apologized for the wait, Braun said. 

She accepted their apology.

"I hope they're looking into their policies in order to get these services streamlined for people and get them in a more timely manner," she said. 

Braun said her father should have results from his biopsy in two weeks.


Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa. Previously, she worked as a reporter in Winnipeg and as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at