I got a call from a friend today. He had his appointment to receive his assessment, the truth of whether or not the BC Medical Services Plan would pay for his medically necessary surgery.
There is a local doctor, trained in Belgium under special contract from BC MSP to learn and practise various types of Sexual Re-assignment Surgeries. Unfortunately the public funding authority BC MSP won't let this talented and specialized doctor preform surgery in a public hospital, the procedures must be performed privately. This subsequently raises the cost very significantly.
The amount that BC MSP will pay for this friend's surgery is 1500.
Now I may add that this gentleman is a fine example of what the doctors officially are looking to support. He's hardworking, well educated, straight appearing, weaned off of anti-depressants and working off thousands of dollars of student debt (now that is a whole other story for a whole other day.). He has the kind of chest that requires a very heavy bind for him to feel safe working in his industrial job and comfortable out in public. Usually 3 high tension bands surround his chest, causing back pain and restricting breathing and movement.
The total cost of the surgery will be more like $6000, plus time taken off of work for recovery, prescriptions and related expenses. That means that less than 25 % of the cost of his surgery will be paid for. Unfortunately this makes this medically necessary procedure prohibitive due to cost.
The Hippocratic Oath, upon which modern medicine was structured and developed, states as its final and closing remark,
"To keep the good of the patient as the highest priority."
The current funding decisions at the hands of BC MSP funding authority is blatantly going against this ideal, when considering that for many trans patients the chronic back pains, respiratory issues, skin conditions, as well as depression,risk of physical harm due to transphobic violence and the physical dysphoria experienced by trans patients continues while surgery is unattainable.
A hark working modest individual who doesn't want to put on a show to survive and doesn't want to ask his other broke friends living in the same or similar conditions to help him through this is stuck.
Please Minister George Abbott, allow Dr. Cameron Bowman to perform SR surgery at public hospitals in BC, and ensure that the cost is never a prohibitive matter to patients. This is a system built to take care of the citizens of BC. That includes transpeople.