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'He never got a chance': B.C. man dies after surgery cancelled due to COVID-19
TORONTO -- Hospital protocols surrounding the cancellation of surgeries are being called into question after a B.C. man died waiting for surgery that was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Chris Walcroft, a 50-year-old father of two, died on April 15 after a scheduled surgery to prepare his kidney dialysis was cancelled. According to his wife, the surgery, which would have given him access to the life-saving treatment, was cancelled without explanation from the hospital.
“I had another girlfriend who was actually starting chemo the day after and her chemo was postponed… his [surgery] was straight up cancelled,” Walcroft’s wife, Delia Oliveira, told CTV News Channel Sunday.
“He never got a chance to see his specialist or get another chance to be able to get his surgery.”
Last August, Walcroft was told that his kidneys were functioning at 17 per cent and, without dialysis, he would likely die within a year.
The surgery to insert an arteriovenous fistula, required for dialysis, was scheduled for mid-March and cancelled the day before the procedure. Oliveira says a follow-up appointment with his specialist was scheduled for April 15 -- the day he died.
“I’m absolutely sure I’m not the only one that this has happened to and I’m not the only one that this is going to happen to. It’s not fair,” she said.
“People are sick with other stuff as well. This is ridiculous. All we hear about is COVID-19, [but] other things are happening.”
As of April 15, more than 13,900 scheduled surgeries in British Columbia had been cancelled in the province since officials began cancelling elective surgeries in mid-March. However, according to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, more than 8,220 surgeries have been completed in that time frame.
Dix says a little more than half of those were scheduled urgent surgeries and the remainder were unscheduled emergency surgeries.
Last week, Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott reported that about three dozen people in the province died because they were unable to have heart surgery due to the pandemic.
Oliveira says she hopes health officials shift their focus to include more patients amid the ongoing pandemic, remembering her husband as a kind, community-oriented man who loved being a father.
“He helped others on his time -- our family time,” she said. “If you go to his Facebook page and you see all the people that he helped… he was an unbelievably good dad.”