Nova Scotia

Woman on surgeon wait list says push needed for care

A Nova Scotia woman who has suffered with severe back pain for years is urging people to take responsibility for their own health care.

Sheila Dickie has been living in pain, waiting nearly a year for neurosurgery

According to the Nova Scotia Department of Health’s website, nine out of 10 people that need neurosurgery receive an operation within four and a half months. Much less time than the 11 months Dickie has been waiting for an appointment with a surgeon. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia woman who has suffered with severe back pain for years is urging people to take responsibility for their own health care.

Sheila Dickie, of Upper Stewiacke, has been waiting nearly a year just to see a surgeon.

She has been bent over, unable to walk upright since she injured herself back in 2008.

Dickie said she is in pain most of the time and is very limited in what she can do.

Even simple tasks cause Dickie terrible back pain. (CBC)

"To do just ordinary housework like sweep a floor or vacuuming or anything, that's not going to happen because it’s just way too painful," she said.

When Dickie first went for treatment a few years ago, initial X-rays showed no sign of anything wrong but the pain continued.

Finally in 2011, a CT scan showed herniated discs and Dickie  was told she would likely need surgery.

She saw one neurosurgeon last April, but he referred her to another who was an expert in her type of injury.

That request was sent last July and she has been waiting for an appointment ever since.

According to the Nova Scotia Department of Health’s website, nine out of 10 people that need neurosurgery receive an operation within four and a half months.

But Dickie needs to see a surgeon before she can be scheduled for a surgery.

She said she doesn't know whether a shortage of neurosurgeons is to blame for the delay in getting an appointment, but she has learned she needs to do more to keep her case moving.

"When it comes to your health you’ve got to push like a dog with a bone," she said. "Because if you don’t keep going you’re going to get lost in the cracks or lost in the paperwork."

Even though she has been told she may get an appointment in May, she said she plans to keep on pushing.

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