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Ontario toddler's heart surgery cancelled for 4th time in a year

An Ontario mother is desperate for her three-year-old son to receive a heart surgery that she says has already been cancelled four times this year.

Roman Tsoy has a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which impacts normal blood flow through the heart.

Newmarket, Ont. resident Marina Pergat told CTV News Toronto her son's surgery was cancelled at the last minute Wednesday morning, for the fourth time this year. It was also the second time the procedure was cancelled on the day of the scheduled surgery, Pergat added.

“At first I started crying, that was my initial reaction. I sat on my bed and started crying because I hoped this would finally be done,” Pergat said.

She said every time Roman’s surgery was cancelled, the Hospital for Sick Children told her it was because there wasn’t a bed available, meaning an ICU nurse couldn’t provide 24/7, one-on-one care for her child following the surgery.

“Because he needs this surgery to save his life, if they keep postponing, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Pergat said.

Roman Tsoy, 3 has a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which impacts normal blood flow through the heart. (CTV News Toronto)

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, SickKids said it’s working through a significant surgical backlog of more than 6,500 patients.

“Of the patients on the waitlist, approximately 67 per cent have waited longer than the recommended window of time for their procedures,” the statement reads.

“Similar to other hospitals, SickKids is experiencing ongoing health human resources challenges across the hospital. Reduced availability of operating room staff and prioritization of emergency cases can impact our overall surgical waitlist and the scheduled cases that can be completed per day.”

SickKids said it’s continuing to work with government partners who have announced recent investments to address the surgical wait list, and help patients access the care they need in a timely manner.

Pergat said her son’s heart is fragile, adding he has to take Tylenol regularly to relieve pain and isolate to stay healthy. The delays put the family’s life on hold, according to Pergat, since he can’t go to daycare and she can’t work.

Pergat said her son previously received two heart surgeries, one in December 2019, another in May 2020, and both were timely. She said this is supposed to be his third and final surgery for his condition.

A spokesperson for the minister of health told CTV News Toronto in statement the province has hired thousands of new nurses and doctors since 2018, "but we know more needs to be done."

Last week, on July 19, the province announced it would be investing an additional $330 million each year into pediatric health services, including hiring more surgical staff to increase the number of surgeries daily.

“My message is to get it together. I think they might pull up their resources, I really believe there is something that can be done, that they can find a bed, that they find a nurse,” Pergat said. Top Stories

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