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Two years of pain

Senior angry over delays in treatment

Jake Kennedy
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Sep 25/02) - By the time she receives surgery for a torn rotator cuff in November, Ida Lucca will have spent close to two years in constant pain.

Ida Lucca tells Minister of Health Michael Miltenberger, far right, and deputy minister Dave Murray that she resented being thought of as a "drain" on the health-care system because she's a senior citizen. - Jake Kennedy/NNSL photo

"The quality of my life has gone down so much, I have to ask for home care now," Lucca said.

"I can do dishes, but that's about it."

Lucca came to Wednesday's meeting of the Stanton Territorial Health Authority to voice her anger at being "bounced around" the medical system. "If I sound frustrated and angry, it's because I am," she told Health Minister Michael Miltenberger and members of the health authority.

The 73-year-old Lucca was injured in February 2001 when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice, hurting her right shoulder.

Lengthy waits

She said she went to her general practitioner, and followed that up with physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture. Her problem became worse and she was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who referred her to a neurologist, who then referred her to an internist -- with a two- to three-month period before she could get in to see each new physician.

After Lucca raised her frustration during the meeting, Miltenberger addressed authority chair Larry Elkin, asking that personal concerns not be raised at the public meeting.

"They don't want me to talk about it here, but how can't I?" Lucca asked after the meeting. I don't feel like they're listening to me. I have to voice my concern somehow."