TORONTO - He has a Kentucky surgeon who says he’s not too sick for a modern operation, and who’s ready to take out his tumour.
He has an Ontario cancer doctor who concurs his pancreatic cancer is not at Stage 4, but perhaps at the safer-to-operate Stage 2.
Ontario has the Nanoknife equipment to complete such a surgery — called irreversible electroporation (IRE) — and even doctors waiting for the experimental tag to be taken off so they can get at it and try to help people.
What Trent Hills Mayor Hector Macmillan doesn’t have is the approval of the Ministry of Health to get that much-needed, life-saving operation.
He doesn’t have the $300,000 needed to go the United States and have the procedure done there.
And he doesn’t have time to waste.
With any kind of cancer, the clock is not your friend. With pancreatic cancer, the clock is your enemy.
The last thing the 58-year-old politician should be doing is running around, getting stressed out and battling bureaucracy.
But that’s exactly what he has been doing, and what he was doing Thursday at Queen’s Park.
Invited by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, Macmillan met with Leader Patrick Brown and MPPs Randy Hillier and Lisa MacLeod, who he says “all did a great job in bringing this issue to the forefront.”
But the meeting of the day was between the rural mayor and Health Minister Eric Hoskins, a man Macmillan has previously accused, in essence, of sentencing him to death, of sending a contract killer to murder him.
Oh to be a fly on the wall.
“Actually, he was a very nice guy,” Macmillan said. “He seemed very compassionate and concerned,”
Macmillan has a big meeting with OHIP scheduled for Friday. He hopes letters he presents from two doctors, including Kingston specialist Sulaiman Nanji, that indicate his cancer is not at Stage 4 will convince OHIP to have a change of heart and either fund his operation out of country or allow it to happen here under the supervision of American surgeon Robert Martin.
“Minister Hoskins seems hopeful, too, and seems positive, but explained rule changes in 2009 mean he can’t get involved in the process,” Macmillan said.
It was still a nice development, and a better way of doing business.
“Once we were finished talking about my situation, I brought up the other 999 people in the province in need of Nanoknife surgery as well,” said Macmillan. “He said he would see what he could do.”
The waiting on this one is over. What Hoskins should do is make sure Hector and the others get the best medical treatment available.
“He seemed surprised my appeal has been put off, but his hands are tied,” said Macmillan, who did have some parting words for the minister, who is also a doctor.
“I told him I have been a mayor for 13 years, and my dad was one for nine years and my grandfather was on council for 25 years ... I know an elected person can have a little influence.”
It’s not a hard decision, minister.
Hector Macmillan has everything in place to get a shot at trying to rid his body of cancer and keep serving Trent Hills and keep living.
He just needs somebody in authority to approve the cost of his surgery.
Come on, Premier Wynne. You had a billion for the gas plants. Make this happen Friday.