Even A 35 cm Tumor Didn’t Secure Her Care
In 2006, Sylvia DeVries was gaining weight and convinced something was wrong. After doctors told her her nothing was wrong, she headed across the border. When an emergency room in Detroit diagnosed ovarian cancer, she brought the report back to her doctor in Windsor, Ontario. “He was visibly shaken and was devastated. His frustration was he couldn’t shove me though the system.”
Then the runaround began. To get a CT scan, she would have to be referred by a specialist. She was sent to a general surgeon, who referred her to a gynecologist. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. On October 16, a gynecologist told her he didn’t believe she had cancer.
A concerned neighbor’s son — a U.S. doctor — got her an appointment at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Mich. “He saw me, he looked at the report and said I know exactly what I want to do. The following Monday he performed the surgery.”
The surgeon removed a 35 centimetre tumour, along with her ovaries, appendix, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and 13 litres of fluid. According to the surgeon, if she had waited even two weeks more, she would have faced potential multiorgan failure, rendering her unstable for surgery.
After the surgery, DeVries said “I would like to see the situation rectified so [other patients] don’t go through this.”