Patients facing extremely long wait times for foot surgery
Thousands of people across Ottawa are facing wait times of up to two years for orthopedic surgery, causing many to suffer on their feet.
"I feel like someone has taken a knife and stabbed me in the ankle," said local hair colour specialist, Zully Alvarado, who has a painful bunion on her foot. "It disables me from taking the next step."
Alvarado's bunion has been causing her trouble for the past 17 years. Five years ago, when the pain became unbearable, she went to an orthopedic surgeon to have it removed.
She was put on a years-long waiting list.
Alvarado is not alone. Paula Doering, vice-president of operations at the Ottawa Hospital, said that wait times for orthopedic surgery in the city average about 234 days.
She said the problem could be solved with more money for operating rooms, and an increase in foot specialists in the community.
Currently there are only two orthopedic surgeons in Ottawa, and only one doctor who removes bunions surgically.
They say they can't handle any more patients.
"Everyone is frustrated, they can't get into see me," said podiatrist Dr. David Greenberg. "People say, ‘I couldn't see you for four or five months. It's not working."
Doering estimates that it will take years, and much more government investment, for the situation to improve.
Alvarado's orthopedic specialist, Dr. Kathleen Gartke, said, that in the meantime, people will have to do the best they can.
"They may have pain, it may be interfering with their ability to work, they have to adjust their lifestyles," she said. "And they just have to do it."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Carol Anne Meehan