CBC: Family upset government won’t cover out-of-country surgery

CBC Ottawa did a story about a Stittsville family raising money to pay for surgery in the United States. Lamitta El-Roz is six years old and has been denied funding for dorsal rhizotomy surgery that’s only available in the United States.

The family has launched a fundraising campaign called Lamitta’s Wish to Walk to cover the surgery and follow-up treatment.

Lamitta El-Roz, 6, and her family hope surgery in the U.S. will allow her to walk and help ease her chronic pain. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)
Lamitta El-Roz, 6, and her family hope surgery in the U.S. will allow her to walk and help ease her chronic pain. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)

Lamitta El-Roz loves comic book super heroes — especially Spiderman.

When asked what super powers she’d like to possess, she doesn’t hesitate.

“I’d like to have flying powers.”

But her down-to-earth wishes are to dance, run and play Nerf gun games like other kids her age in the neighbourhood.

Her parents are hoping surgery next month will allow their six-year-old daughter — born with spastic cerebral palsy — to at least sit up on her own. Their ultimate hope is for her to take a few steps with the help of a walker.

​”I want to walk and that will be amazing,” she says.

But mother Maya Taleb and father Robbie El-Roz have been told the operation, which will be done in the United States at a cost of about $46,000 US, won’t be paid for by OHIP.

While the province says it has funded out of country selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery (DRS) for patients like Lamitta in the past, she needs a letter of recommendation from a specialist in Ontario. In July, a neurosurgeon in Hamilton wouldn’t give them his endorsement. The specialist told the family that without her being mobile, he couldn’t recommend the province pay for Lamitta’s surgery.

The family, however, is set to go ahead with the surgery September 9, thanks to fundraising efforts that brought in $85,000. But how they will pay for post operative costs — which Robbie pegs at about $140,000 — is, for now, up in the air. He says his workplace insurance only pays for $1,200 of physiotherapy a year.

 

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