“This is an awful story about someone falling through a gap that should not exist,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “The Alberta government should be ashamed of itself for putting the family through this.”
Savill had to be transported by air ambulance to a Sudbury hospital — a trip that she has been told may cost her between $ 10,000 and $ 30,000.
“It’s something we should be talking about at the premiers’ table. How do we make sure that we’re doing everything we can to allow people across the country to have an even experience no matter where they are in the country?” she said.
Cheryl Otaes, a spokesperson for the Alberta Premier’s Office, confirmed the bill is not covered by provincial health care but described Savill’s situation as “unique and exceptional” and said the premier’s office would like to meet with the family to see if they can help them.
“We don’t have a commitment that we’ll pay all or part of the cost, but we can commit that we’ll look into it and see what we can do,” she said.
NDP health critic France Gelinas said Savill is just the most recent woman with an at-risk pregnancy to suffer because of cuts in medical services. Many Northern Ontario women have to take a “long helicopter ride” to give birth.
“Because we do a whole lot more patient transport in Ontario than anywhere else, it is our responsibility to set the tone and say those are medically necessary services,” she said.
She said forcing Savill to pay the airfare would be “totally lacking in compassion.”
“No Canadian would find it easy to pay $ 30,000 for an ambulance that was medically necessary,” said Mehra. “It’s unreasonable to put people through this kind of trauma, particularly after having a very premature baby.”