First we send Mexico our manufacturing jobs and now our cancer patients?
When can we send Premier Kathleen Wynne, Health Minister Eric Hoskins and the rest of the Ontario and federal governments too?
Not soon enough, for the people who get no help from our medical system.
People like Hamilton’s own Justin Masotti.
He’s 17 years old and instead of being in an Ontario hospital fighting a horrible form of cancer, he’s with his dad, Mike, in Tijuana, Mexico getting the treatment, attention and results not available for him here.
What the hell is wrong with this province? Why can’t we help this kid?
Before Jan. 28, this top soccer player’s future was so bright. Then came the rare and inoperable brain cancer with no known cure that has left him blind.
Turns out Ontario’s health system had no answer. Like we saw with Trent Hills Mayor Hector Macmillan, who went to Germany for modern pancreatic surgery, Justin headed out of country.
Down in Mexico they have a treatment that “delivers the chemotherapy past the blood barrier in the brain” and direct into the cancer-ridden area — which is more a spaghetti-like growth than a traditional tumour.
It’s difficult treatment. The poor kid is bedridden and suffering. But he’s fighting.
“I was close to dying when I came down to the Mexican clinic,” Justin says. “There was no hope for me in Ontario. This treatment here in Mexico at the Immunity Therapy Center is working.”
Justin’s case was brought to my attention by Corus Radio host Roy Green, who — like he often does — is on a crusade to make sure Justin gets every bit of medical attention he needs.
Count me in.
The good news is that while Mexico may not work for the thousands of Ontario manufacturing workers who lost their livelihoods, it’s working for Justin.
Justin “went from 120 pounds to 160 pounds since he arrived here Oct. 4,” Mike said Wednesday.
He’s also now walking and talking again.
“There is hope he could get some sight back in one of his eyes,” his dad added.
Things are looking up?
“The doctors are optimistic of curing the cancer,” said Mike. “My concern is running out of money before that happens.”
This treatment is not free and not covered by OHIP, which means he may not be able to stay.
“If the funding runs out, I will have to go home and die,” said Justin. “But unlike the government, I will not give up.”
Explains Ontario’s Ministry of Health: “Through the out-of-country (OOC) Prior Approval Program, the ministry provides funding of OOC health services for Ontario residents who require services to address medical conditions that arise inside Ontario when those services are not performed in Ontario or cannot be obtained in Ontario without medically significant delay.
“In addition, the treatment must be medically necessary, generally accepted by the medical profession in Ontario as appropriate, and not experimental or for research purposes.”
Trying to save Justin’s life is experimental?
Ontario seemed to have money to pay Liberal government pals thousands in bonuses and severances post the 2015 Pan Am Games and billions to cancel gas plants, but doesn’t have $140,000 to help a teenager fighting for his life?
You don’t get off the hook either, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hobnobbing with communists in Cuba while his government handed out $25 million to the controversial United Nations Relief and Works Agency which had alleged links to terror. We don’t have money for people here — and one kid in Mexico — for life-saving medicine. Imagine how many Canadians could be helped with the $5 billion of our money you give to other countries?
Meanwhile, Justin’s family is hoping to raise $150,000 through a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to keep up the battle. As of Wednesday night, more than $45,000 has been raised. There’s also a fundraiser planned for Nov. 26 at 7 p.m at the St. Gregory the Great Church at 125 Centennial Parkway North in Hamilton.
It’s outrageous in a rich province that we have to send our sick to Mexico to do the job our governments and medical system don’t seem to be doing.