Canadian Kids Waiting Too Long for Surgery, Researchers Say

Filed under: In The News, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Tweens

children's surgery in canada

Twenty-seven percent of children linger too long on government waiting lists for necessary surgeries. Credit: Getty Images

Your child has one of those creatures from "Aliens" growing inside his innards? You might want to consider surgery. Then again, no need to be hasty. He might grow out of it.

This wait-and-see attitude toward disturbing medical conditions doesn't always pan out. Yet, the Vancouver Sun reports the Canadian government keeps hoping: Researchers found 27 percent of children linger too long on government waiting lists for necessary surgeries.

Researchers banded together for the Canadian Pediatric Surgical Wait Times project, publishing their findings in this week's issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Government officials in Canada promised seven years ago to cut down the wait time for surgeries, focusing on hip and knee replacement and cataract surgery. However, the Sun reports, they overlooked children.

While Grandma is getting her hip replaced, her grandkids are waiting for heart, brain and eye surgeries, as well as cancer treatments.

"If you're an adult and you have an arthritic hip, it's been declared that you shouldn't wait more than a certain length of time to have your hip replacement," Geoffrey Blair, a pediatric surgeon at B.C. Children's Hospital and a member of the Wait Times project, tells the Sun.

"If you are a 2-year-old with a painful or potentially dangerous condition, then it should apply just as much, if not more," he adds.

Last week, according to the Sun, Blair operated on several children who had been waiting more than a year for hernia surgery. The nationally agreed upon target for hernia treatment is three months.

"Ninety percent of children in our study had their surgery within six months, but when you begin to talk about some of these diagnoses, like cancer surgery, six months doesn't make any sense at all," study co-author Dr. James Wright, surgeon-in-chief at SickKids and lead of the pediatric surgical wait times project, tells the Sun.

"It may be great that you had your surgery within six months, but what you really needed was to have it within three weeks," he adds.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.