The Marchildon Affair

Written by  //  April 1, 2008  //  Beryl Wajsman, Health & Health care, Local news & events, Media, People Meta  //  Comments Off on The Marchildon Affair

We congratulate Beryl Wajsman for bringing this account of disgraceful petty bureaucracy to the attention of Suburban readers, the media and the politicians. And applaud Julius Grey‘s involvement. The advocacy of two such powerful and dedicated individuals, coupled with impressive community support, brought about a merciful decision at the political level and a resolution of Mrs. Marchildon’s problem. BUT we fear that even with the individual case solved, there are many others who, lacking such champions, will fall victim to the same kind of bureaucratic stupidity and intransigence which is not limited to the RAMQ.
April 2
U.S. cancer surgery okayed
Quebec reverses decision. Medicare will pay for Kirkland woman’s treatment
(The Gazette) Quebec’s health insurance board has finally authorized Ella Shepherd Marchildon’s request to seek life-saving cancer treatment in the United States.
Julius Grey, the lawyer who the Marchildons contacted after RAMQ first refused to authorize treatment in the U.S., said yesterday that Quebec’s Public Health Act and jurisprudence make it clear that Quebecers are entitled to life-saving treatment even if it’s not available in the province.
He pointed to a 1999 Quebec case involving Barry Stein, a man who sought colon cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Centre in New York when treatment here was not available quickly enough. RAMQ was ordered to pay for that treatment, Grey said.
April 1
Marchildons win!
RAMQ approves U.S. surgery
By Beryl Wajsman, Editor, The Suburban
At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Kirkland residents Ella and Joe Marchildon received word that the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec would fund life-saving cancer surgery for Ella, The Suburban has learned.
Events took a dramatic turn in the past week, ever since the Marchildons came back from Washington, DC. Ella had been personally evaluated at the Sugarbaker Clinic for life-saving cancer surgery. The doctors, including world-renowned Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, concluded that she was an excellent candidate for the Sugarbaker procedure.
… Late last week Francis Scarpaleggia, MP for West Island’s Lac St. Louis riding, sent an almost unprecedented letter to Philippe Couillard pleading for compassion for the Marchildons. Sources I spoke with highlighted how rare it was for an elected representative at the federal level to intervene in an area of provincial jurisdiction.
March 26
Cancer patient must wait for treatment verdict
RAMQ has refused to pay for care in U.S.
A Kirkland woman with a rare form of cancer must wait until at least Monday to learn if Quebec’s health-insurance board will pay for a potentially life-saving treatment available only in the United States.
The Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec has already twice refused to pay for the procedure in the United States, which could cost about $150,000.
The health-insurance board has told Marchildon that a surgeon at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital will review her case on Monday. Three options are on the table, Joe Marchildon, Ella’s husband, said yesterday.
The Maisonneuve-Rosemont doctor, who had previously indicated he could not perform the surgery, could decide on Monday that he will do the operation, that RAMQ should pay for the U.S. procedure, or that RAMQ should not pay for it, Joe Marchildon said.
March 20
(Montreal Gazette) Best, last hope
Health insurance board won’t pay for specialized surgery in the U.S.
MONTREAL – Ella Shepherd Marchildon has been told she needs specialized surgery that’s not available in Quebec if she is to have any chance of surviving a rare form of cancer.
But this week, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec – the province’s health insurance board – refused a second time to pay for the treatment that three Montreal specialists deem to be Marchildon’s best hope but is available only in the United States.
March 19
RAMQ in the hot seat
By Beryl Wajsman, Editor, The Suburban
Ella Shepherd Marchildon’s struggle to get life-saving surgery in the United States continues. As we reported in our front-page story last week, Marchildon was operated on for a very rare form of cancer. The surgeons at the Royal Victoria Hospital determined that her best chance for survival was to go to the Sugarbaker clinic in Washington to have the world-renowned Sugarbaker procedure. That procedure combines surgery with a cutting edge chemotherapy procedure known as IPEC. The success rate there is 75 percent with patients remaining cancer-free for 10 years on average.
March 12
Dare to care!
Ella Shepherd Marchildon’s life and death challenge to RAMQ
By Beryl Wajsman, Editor, The Suburban
Christmas is usually a time of warmth and celebration. Christmas 2002 was not such a time for West Islanders Ella and Joe Marchildon. Active members of the community, particularly involved with youth sports, their Pointe Claire home burned down just before Christmas Day. They lost everything. They were also underinsured. But they were all right. They had each other. They were tough. They had five great kids. And they had their health. Five months later that comfort was shattered too.
In May of 2003 Ella Shepherd Marchildon was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer, Signet Ring Cell. Although the doctors were unable to determine the primary source, they decided to treat it as if the primary source was a colon cancer.

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