Woman off blood work priority list
Millville resident awaiting kidney transplant concerned about changes to service
A recent change in who makes the cut for priority blood work service at Cape Breton hospitals has one woman concerned about its impact on her health.
Kimberley Parks, a 46year-old resident of Millville who is on home dialysis and awaiting her third kidney transplant, had for years fit the criteria for priority outpatient collection, which allows patients to bypass the waiting area and proceed directly into the collection room.
But that all changed about four months ago when she and others were taken off the priority list following a review of the service. Parks said she’s worried the change could affect her chances of a receiving a transplant.
“They’re always preaching to you that you have to look after yourself and not to go anywhere where anybody is sick in case you get that call for a transplant. If you’re sick ... you’re not getting that kidney,” she said. “It’s cold and flu season and (it’s concerning) to go and sit in a waiting room with people that are coughing and sneezing and it’s never a quick trip into blood work.”
In a memo issued by the Nova Scotia Health Authority in June, officials informed affected patients that the criteria for priority outpatient collection would be changing as of July 20.
“This will bring our services more in line with laboratory services across the province, and will allow us to improve access and wait times for all of our patients,” the memo stated.
That means that priority service is now limited to people actively undergoing chemotherapy, immune-compromised post-transplant patients, patients receiving clozapine, children under the age of seven, and patients having a two-hour glucose tolerance test.
“We are no longer priority,” said Parks. “It’s just not right.”
Parks, who goes in for blood work at least once a month, has chronic pyelonephritis and underwent two kidney transplants in 1994 and 2001. She has been waiting for a third transplant for three years.
Greg Boone, spokesman with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said the changes were made after a review of the service found that not all
“The goal for us is to provide priority service only when medically necessary and for all other patients on a first-come, first-serve basis.” Greg Boone, spokesman with the Nova Scotia Health Authority
people on the priority access list had a medical need to be on it, and that the number of people on the list was in some cases impacting overall wait times.
Boone said local medical staff don’t see the changes as a risk for potential transplant patients, but noted that patients do have options if they feel they have a medical reason for priority access.
“The patient can talk with their physician who may then provide information to us directly explaining why it’s necessary for the person to have priority blood or specimen collection,” he said.
“The goal for us is to provide priority service only when medically necessary and for all other patients on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
Parks said her doctor has written a letter to the health authority requesting she be put back on the priority list, but she’d like to see the whole decision reversed.
“I’m not doing this just for myself. It’s the principle of it,” she said. “I want to see it changed back because it’s just not good practice at all.”