Ruby Gittens, a three-year-old from Victoria, British Columbia in Canada has had to wait 10 months for hernia surgery, even though studies show wait times increase patient risk. According to her mom, she tries to keep up with her older brother and sister, but sometimes the discomfort of her hernia means she lags behind.
Ruby now has a September 8 date for surgery to repair the hernia in her groin, but that will make it 10 months since it was diagnosed. During that time, it has grown and her mom suspects her daughter has now developed a second hernia.
A 2008 study out of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children showed that young children who wait more than 14 days for hernia surgery double the risk of a strangled hernia, which can damage ovaries. An article by Dr. Geoffrey Blair of B.C. Children's Hospital, written the same year, says children are being ignored when it comes to surgical wait times.
The situation has raised a number of questions, ranging from why the region only has two pediatric surgeons to surgeon replacement policies to the nature of Canada’s national health care system.