Health care blocked: MLA

Caissie -
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A Surrey man has been refused medical health service within the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) because of a court action he’s launched against it, according to an MLA who asked why his constituent can’t get local service.

Timothy Moorley went to Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains’ office after a special echocardiogram known as a bubble test was delayed several times.

Bains’ assistant called the FHA to ask why Moorley wasn’t getting the test and was told it wouldn’t be done within the region because of his lawsuit. The FHA said it would look for a hospital outside the region to conduct the test.

When contacted by The Leader, FHA spokesman Michael Bernard said the region would not refuse treatment to a patient because of legal action, however, other means of providing that service may be sought, depending on the circumstances.

“We don’t refuse because somebody has filed a lawsuit,” said Bernard, noting there’s a difference between refusal and seeking alternative arrangements.

Bains’ office said those alternatives are unacceptable because it would mean sending Moorley to hospitals outside the region.

Edmund Caissie, president of the Surrey Bar Association, said at first blush it appears as though the health authority has overstepped necessary means to protect defendants in a lawsuit.

“For an institution or a hospital covered by the Fraser Health region to take that position, I just don’t think those things connect,” Caissie said. “To say he can’t go to any other (lab technician) in the hospital jurisdiction, I think that’s ridiculous.”

Bains felt the same way and quietly took the issue to B.C. Minister of Health George Abbott last week.

Two days later, Abbott delivered Bains a hand-written note saying, “I’m advised that Mr. Moorley has launched legal action against FHA and the (Ministry) of Health. This makes it difficult to deal with this file until legal resolution.”

Caissie said Abbott’s reaction sounds like just another political excuse not to get involved.

“(It’s) a way out of the problem, rather than addressing the main issue, which is how can you block someone especially from an area as big as the Fraser Health region,” Caissie said. “That’s absurd, I think.”

Moorely first had the bubble test conducted on Dec. 8, 2006, but the machine failed to store images retrieved during the exam.

“... unfortunately, the corresponding images were not stored, so no further reporting can be provided at this time,” the echocardiography report states. “If clinically indicated, would suggest repeat bubble test.”

Because of Moorley’s heart problem, an injured finger has not been able to heal properly.

On Jan. 22, he was admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for a surgical procedure on the finger.

On Feb. 20 of this year, Moorely filed a lawsuit against several individual doctors, along with FHA and Surrey Memorial Hospital, seeking damages for $25,000.

“It has been suggested the missing test would have changed the course of diagnosis,” Moorley’s statement of claim states.

In the statement of defense, the FHA denies all allegations levelled against it by Moorley.

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