A mothers desperate plea. What is wrong with our health care system?

Posted with permission of Tino’s family.

I am writing for help.

 My son Tino Sandana was admitted to Royal Columbian Hospital on Thursday, May, 5, 2011 and it was quickly discovered that he had a paracardial efusion around his heart and would need to be kept over night for treatment and observation. The major concerns are that he is 29 years old, he has a large cancerous tumor spreading rapidly and they have said it is aggressive. 

 He is in Intensive Care Unit now because he cannot breath on his own, he needs assistance to use the bathroom. He has had dramatic weight loss since being hospitalized on May 5th up to todays date of May 17. 

 He continues to decline daily.

I do not understand how after all of these immediate concerns and serious condition he is in that they can say he is not an immediate priority.

The day after Tino was admitted, after tests it was discovered that he had a tumor twice the size of his heart behind his heart in an inoperable area.  They did further testing to reveal he has a 99.9% chance of having Hodgkins Lymphoma.

 To be sure of the diagnosis they told my family, my son and myself that they would be able to make a small incision through his breast bone and get a piece of the tumor to do a biopsy and try to get a conclusive result stating what the mass is. They have made it very clear to all of us on a daily basis that Tino has cancer. They performed this biopsy on Wednesday, May 11 and by the following Friday, May 13 they said the results were inconclusive. So after receiving that news they said they would have to transfer him to Surrey Memorial for another biopsy to get a larger sample.

 They transferred Tino on Saturday May, 14 in the early morning and they said they would be performing the biopsy/surgery –  he was never taken in for the biopsy.

 We were told then it would be on Monday, May 16 and it was once again cancelled. 

They then said he wasn’t actually scheduled for Monday and he is not a priority case, and that he was now slated for surgery for the following day, being Tuesday May 17 at 2:00pm –  they have once again put it off and said we will be performing the surgery Wednesday, May 18.

They have told us that because of cutbacks they do not have sufficient staff to perform and arrange the surgery. 

The surgeon was there but there was no nurse, so they cancelled again.

 They said there was no pathologist, nurses, anesthesiologist available after 4pm, but his surgery was scheduled for 2:00pm and he was supposed to be out at 4:00pm.

 I am absolutely disgusted by how the health care system treats its patients. My son is in critical condition being kept in ICU and a normal 190 lbs he is now 140 lbs and needs help sitting up for a young 29 year old who is normally fit and extremely healthy this breaks my heart that this is the type of treatment he is receiving. We were informed by the dietitian that she is extremely concerned that he is beginning to be very malnourished.  We have been told information that contradicts everything they have been saying.

And for every time they say they will be taking him in for surgery they fast him for an entire day and tell us late that it has been cancelled. Meanwhile he is growing weaker and it is playing a hard role on his state of mind and overall well being. 

 I am watching my 29 year old son dying of cancer and they won’t help.

 Please help me make sure my son has the medical care he needs.

 Marian Sandana

*update, Wednesday evening:

 After several cancelled bookings, Tino finally received surgery this afternoon. The biopsy was successfully taken and it is hoped that a plan for treatment will be in place shortly. His family thanks everyone for their prayers and concern.

28 thoughts on “A mothers desperate plea. What is wrong with our health care system?

  1. Oh this is horrible! What is wrong with this hospital, that poor lady waiting for arm surgery was bad enough, this young man sounds very very ill and how can they help him if they cant even get a nurse? This is sick! What is priority then, gangsters shooting themselves or each other? I am praying for help now.


  2. Usually the system does work well in the case of an emergency to save a person’s life – it took them about 3 hours to schedule a 12 hour brain surgery operation the next day for me.
    Why they are using the double slow shuffle in this situation is beyond me. There must be a way to communicate to the politicians that some thing must be done now


  3. I think you came to the right place Marian Sandana – Laila’s blog is a voice for attention to the needs of people in British Columbia – I too will keep faith for your son – for you too – as will everyone who reads your plea for help. You have community here.


  4. Stay strong Tino! I called the health ministers office, this isn’t right and we are in Canada so what’s up with this?


  5. Hi Laila, thank you for posting this sad story! I called De Jongs office and left a message like I will ever hear from him, but I tried.Stuff like this seems to happen more than it should and what about the ones we dont hear about?


  6. Yeah, tell us again why the government is spendin millions and millions on HST propaganda, and we don’t have enough medical staff working?Theres issues with the anesthesiologists, the orthopedic surgeons, the nurses… WTF? Most of the time its working ok,but when it goes wrong,it goes really wrong.


  7. This is both shocking and not surprising since I have heard of numerous stories about how public health care in this province is the last priority for the current government.
    But casinos are absolutely priority number one!


  8. This is a sad storey, heathcare here is a joke.
    Why does the media talk about dichloroacetate (DCA) .
    It looks like a cure.

    From HUB
    Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice.
    Canadian researchers find a simple cure for cancer, but major pharmaceutical companies are not interested.
    Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada have cured cancer last week, yet there is a little ripple in the news or in TV. It is a simple technique using very basic drug. The method employs dichloroacetate, which is currently used to treat metabolic disorders. So, there is no concern of side effects or about their long term effects.
    This drug doesn’t require a patent, so anyone can employ it widely and cheaply compared to the costly cancer drugs produced by major pharmaceutical companies.
    Canadian scientists tested this dichloroacetate (DCA) on human’s cells; it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells and left the healthy cells alone. It was tested on Rats inflicted with severe tumors; their cells shrank when they were fed with water supplemented with DCA. The drug is widely available and the technique is easy to use, why the major drug companies are not involved? Or the Media interested in this find?
    In human bodies there is a natural cancer fighting human cell, the mitochondria, but they need to be triggered to be effective. Scientists used to think that these mitochondria cells were damaged and thus ineffective against cancer. So they used to focus on glycolysis, which is less effective in curing cancer and more wasteful. The drug manufacturers focused on this glycolysis method to fight cancer. This DCA on the other hand doesn’t rely on glycolysis instead on mitochondria; it triggers the mitochondria which in turn fights the cancer cells.
    The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can’t be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.
    With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn’t break down and seed new tumors.
    Pharmaceutical companies are not investing in this research because DCA method cannot be patented, without a patent they can’t make money, like they are doing now with their AIDS Patent. Since the pharmaceutical companies won’t develop this, the article says other independent laboratories should start producing this drug and do more research to confirm all the above findings and produce drugs. All the groundwork can be done in collaboration with the Universities, who will be glad to assist in such research and can develop an effective drug for curing cancer.
    You can access the original research for this cancer here.
    This article wants to raise awareness for this study, hope some independent companies and small startup will pick up this idea and produce these drugs, because the big companies won’t touch it for a long time.


    1. Good news- Tino is in surgery,finally and please everyone hope for the best. I’m told he had a fever as they prepared him for surgery.


  9. I’ve had some pretty disappointing experiences with our health care system over the past 6 years. My GP hates the system so much he is currently negotiating his way out of his practice! Norm’s treatment sounds reasonable but my experience indicates emergency situations where the treatment is clear are not as problematic. Unfortunately, the situation for Tino sounds grave and it sounds as if treatment options are possibly limited and success is questionable? He and his family should clearly be treated far more compassionately! What is wrong with people?
    My own health issues are complicated. I have been given a number of diagnoses and the recommended treatment is consistently to manage the symptoms. My GP is really nice and just keeps sending me for tests and prescribing medications. The specialists I’ve seen look at only their small area of responsibility and not at my system as a whole. I feel terrible that I keep getting inconclusive tests, that I am costing the health care system money and I only want to get better, to have my life back. I am having some success with acupuncture treatments and doing research myself on environmental and food toxins and every other possible manifestation of my symptoms to find a cure because the shell of my life I have now is not good enough! My experience with heath care providers indicates a widespread belief that illnesses that are not easily defined or treated are some sort of character flaw. I have read articles and books which speak to this idea so I know it isn’t just me. It is how too many traumatized health care workers think when faced with difficult cases.
    We need to take the profit out of health care. We need to treat and pay our health care providers well and have good support systems in place for them and hold them accountable for good patient care. My most recent visit to VGH was simply a nightmare of grumpy, disinterested nurses and techs except xray. Those guys were awesome!
    Oh Laila, I could go on and on… our health care system is a mess and my heart is heavy from my own battles but moreso for the situation of Tino and his family. For them I hope they will find that one person who will help, who will treat them with dignity and care and bring a miracle.


  10. Christie Clark has $5 million for advertising for the HST but not $5 million for the health care.
    Christie Clark has $5 million for advertising for the HST but not $5 million for Community Living services.
    Christie Clark has $5 million for advertising for the HST but not $5 million for schools in Surrey. She sends her own kid to private school.
    Christie Clark, maybe she could spend $5 million and buy herself a brain or social conscience.
    while people go hungry, homeless, sick, B.C. has $5 million for advertising. Ya, the best place on earth? who are they trying to kid.
    Perhaps people who do not receive the medical care they paid premiums for should consider suing the government for breach of trust, etc.


  11. My heart goes out to Marian and Tino. I lost my only daughter to cancer 6 years ago, but I can’t even imagine the additional stress of a dysfunctional system. One has to wonder if the govt’s plan is to push us into accepting a two-tiered system. CCPA has a report called ‘medicare is not becoming unaffordable’ and it should be available online; information we need to have to stop the destruction of what was a great system


  12. forget the 5 million for those various worthwhile spots, I would like to see Christy humble her self a bit by taking sandwiches regularly to the homeless instead of using sandwiches to bribe her way to an election win.


  13. terminalcitygirl
    I have been doing a lot of research into some of the health issues associated with emf radiation (my particular case was caused by a massive hit of microwave radiation/radar many years ago) clicking on my name will take you to a web site that has a number of links to some information.


  14. Best of luck to Tino. $500 million + for a stinkin stadium roof says it all. Everyone remember when the election comes around again please. I would like the LIEBERALS reduced to the same 2 seats the NDP had for awhile there.


  15. My prayers for all of you. This is such a tradgety, and they do nothing. We hear these stories, time and time again, and no one does anything about it! The people who need help, are a people forgotten. We get promises, promises, and more promises, and people are dying. Hospitals are infected, and all we get is politicians justifying us, with a load of BS. If this isnt a top priority, than, what is——. A message to the politicians who have destroyed our Health Care System, in order to promote Privatization, what goes round, comes round. You are methodically destroying peoples lives, in the event of monatary gain. Shame on you.


  16. Wow Norm, I just checked out your site and I’m glad you’re okay. I don’t use a cell much but I do spend a lot of time on my wifi laptop (reasearching wtf could be wrong with me!!) I had always heard emf wasn’t really an issue but clearly I am mistaken. More lifestyle modifications to try… Thanks.


  17. There are other country’s that have very good health care plans that work. Even doctors say, our prescription drugs are an outrageous cost. I believe Canada can not purchase prescription drugs, outside of this country. I don’t know if, the drug company’s were one of the big businesses, that paid Campbell to fight to keep the HST or not? But, does Hansen get off his patoot, to study why our health care is a failure, and other country’s plans are excellent? Of course not, he was Campbell’s right hand henchman. Neither Campbell or Hansen gave a damn about the BC people what-so-ever, and it showed.

    Campbell thieved and sold everything he laid his hands on, including a $60.000 per year salary hike. His own wallet, and his friends wallets were stuffed first. This province has vast natural resources, none of these resources have been a benefit for the citizens. The assets and resources, go to the other snake in the grass, Campbell’s best buddy Harper.

    Health care is not a priority for Harper either. Especially seniors come last on the list for surgery and care, which means they are left to die. Harper has wasted, $36 billion on his wars. He extended Canada’s time in Afghanistan, so billions more will be wasted. Harper’s jets WITH engines, are $40 billion. Who knows how many billions Harper will spend on prisons?

    Harper and Campbell had worked so very hard, to force the Enbridge pipeline and the dirty oil tankers, into our beautiful province. None of their atrocities will benefit the citizens either. BC gets the tanker spills, and a good chance for pipe bursts. Of course, Enbridge has the worst reputation for pipe bursts. Something fishy about them getting the pipeline contract, that’s for sure.


  18. Some of the replies make no sense, whether Christy Clark send her children toa private school has no meaning here. The blog is about a patient waiting for biopsy surgery. 5 Million would make no difference to the Health System, more like 5 Billion would be a start. People should get involved with the lame excuses that there is no staff available and therefore no surgery. The health care salaries are part and parcel of that. A high school dropout makes at least $25 per hour (and all benefits) for just typing a few document per day. Anyone with any degree and just Admin jobs make $70 K a year. Fraser health staff get their own families, neighbours, friends and so on jumping the queus and waiting lists. That should be stopped as well.


  19. I’m not sure where the data for your wages regarding the high school dropout comes from Chris, but I can tell you – that wage is not even close to accurate! Like many folks these days, there are a lot of people quick to jump on those close to the bottom rung of the wage ladder in healthcare…I just wish they’d take the time to get their facts straight first. Firstly, the only place you “might” find a dropout in the hospital is on kitchen trayline…or housekeeping and laundry. Generally, all clerical positions require a minimum of grade 12…and many require specific college or university courses.

    A Super here (in charge of 30+ staff) makes less than 49K per year. The waste isn’t coming from the lower rung, As a matter of fact…in BC we are generally short of the people we need for food services, housekeeping, laundry, and clerical/admitting areas. If you want to lament the waste…ask yourself why, in a province of just 4.5 million people, why…do we need 6 separate health authorities each with their own little fiefdom?

    Simply, we modelled our system after Alberta’s…but it didn’t take too long for Alberta to notice that the costs soon went through the roof as central control was lost, and multiple executives are a very costly commodity to keep around…they were smart enough to return the system to its former state. It’s still not what it should be, but it’s better than it was under separate authorities. Will BC ever be smart enough to see that? I doubt it. The top echelon here is filled by Liberal cronies, and those with an agenda of their own (the privatization of healthcare).

    How many CEO’s, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Controllers, Executive Assistants, Directors, Managers, Department Managers, (each with their own Assistant/s), Supervisors and Leads…does it take before the system becomes so top heavy and expensive that it can no longer be sustained? Remember, we’re dealing with 6 different authorities here…so you have a minimum of 6 of each of the executives above. Our healthcare system in BC is nothing more than another Liberal exercise in stupid futility…and it’s not because the little folk are being overpaid.

    If you want change (like the huge majority of us do in our system)…it needs to be returned to one authority province wide. With the Patient as the major focus. What a concept. As to the queue jumping, you’re absolutely right – it shouldn’t be allowed…no matter who you are, or what you do for a living.


  20. Chris, this reply does make sense.

    When Crusty Clark sends her Hamish to private school, the private schools are subsidized by we the public, causing public schools to be robbed to give to the rich and their special schools for special people, actually not special at all.

    Cluck loves SOCIALISM when it pertains to her and her over-paid pigs at the trough. The B.C. Lib mob, friends and families, also use all OUR SOCIAL services.

    All the right wing nuts, when it’s for them, are all for SOCIALISM whenever they can benefit from our public services. A better new name for them is the B.C. Lib Socialist Pigs Party.


  21. The both of us are from scotland and very good friends of marian and colin,we met tino for the first time in august last year and can safely say tino is one of the most healthy human beings i have ever met. If he is half as strong as his mother is he will fight this as hard as he can to get back on his feet. we spoke to marian and colin on the phone last night and were totally shocked by the news of tino,but the worst thing about the news was the total lack of support from which i would say is the most beautiful and best country we have ever been in and possibly ever be in,and to think that your healthcare system is not bending over backwards to do everything to save this young guys life. in the future we always thought about moving over to canada to live but can honestly say after speaking to marian about the healthcare tino is receiving would think twice about the move. Its just 12hours since we found out about tino and can tell you we are totally disgusted that a country with so much ability to save peoples lives cant even get tino an exact date for an operation. Tino we both hope and pray that you fight with all the strength you have to beat this because with what your mother says you will need all your strength and your family to be strong for you because its the only help you are receiving,all we can say is marian colin sasha and alesha we will be thinking about you all. BE strong tino.X


  22. I’m a family associate of the Sandana’s. Tino’s former boxing coach from the Kelowna Boxing club.
    Tino’s currently in the fight of his young life. There’s one thing I know for sure… Tino is very strong mentally as well as physically, and will fight this with all he’s capable of.
    Best wishes Tino and family.
    Carm F. Delta BC


  23. I will be posting an update to Tino’s story in a bit, and have passed on all good wishes and prayers to a family member. And yes, even those of us who do not know Tino personally will all be there along the way in strength and faith.


  24. Hang in there Brother. Things will get better. Just have faith. I’m sorry for the way you and family have been treated by our so called great medical system.


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