London mom pays to get much-needed surgery, vows to continue to fight for OHIP coverage
Published Monday, June 24, 2019 4:06PM EDT
A London mother who had been fighting for years to get a much needed abdominal surgery covered by OHIP has received her surgery, but paid out of pocket.
Playing and being more active with her three-year-old twins is a dream come true for mother Chelsea Killin, who for the last three years has been struggling with a severe case of abdominal separation called Diastasis Recti.
“Every time I would lay down on my back the abdominal wall would just open up. I had no support there. It was very uncomfortable and very painful.”
Diastasis Recti can be common in women who have given birth.
Most abdominal separation gaps are approximately one to two centimetres wide, but Chelsea’s separation was much larger and after being assessed by doctors and surgeons it was determined she needed surgery as soon as possible.
“It was probably over 12 centimetres wide," she explains.
Unfortunately, according the the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Diastasis Recti is considered a cosmetic procedure and not covered by OHIP.
Killin says surgery costs approximately $10,000.
She tears up when she explains, “The Ministry said that Diastasis Recti is not...I’m sorry this is so upsetting it frustrates me, they said you can’t prove that you’re in pain.”
London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong took Killin’s case to Queen's Park and fought for an appeal in the hopes of helping her get the surgery covered by OHIP, but was unsuccessful.
“When a doctor says it’s not cosmetic, it’s reconstructive there should be an appeals process where someone can make their case and get a proper unbiased decision and review what’s going on.”
Armstrong says it’s unfortunate that Killin had to pay for the surgery and is worried for other Ontarians who may be in similar situations.
“Quite frankly we live in Canada and when you need health care you should be getting it at the time you need it and through your OHIP and not with your credit card.”
Thanks to community fundraising efforts, Killin received the surgery in March and is now recovering.
She says she’s thankful for all the support but wants to keep fighting for other mothers suffering the way she was.