Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in December, Dolorès Cyr is doubly victim of the overloading of care in hospitals due to COVID-19. Since her radiotherapy treatments have been postponed, the Madelinienne has been without pay for several weeks.
“I no longer have a salary, I have nothing. I have to go dig into my personal savings, ”says the 55-year-old woman.
Mme Cyr fell into a loophole in the system. Her doctor put her on sick leave at the end of December in anticipation of a partial mastectomy, after finding out she had grade 1 stage 1 breast cancer during a routine mammogram.
The Home Renovation Technician then began receiving her federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits. The only problem is that this financial assistance offered to citizens who are unable to work for medical reasons is limited to 15 weeks.
The postponement of an operation or treatment due to the load shedding in hospitals due to the pandemic does not change anything.
Dolorès Cyr’s disease came at the wrong time, when Quebec was hit hard by the second and third waves of the epidemic.
His operation, scheduled for Quebec City in mid-January, has been postponed for a week. But the worst was to come. His radiation therapy sessions, which should have started at the end of February, were postponed until April.
” It stresses me “
Having to wait to receive treatment to eradicate cancer is already scary, but coupled with financial anxiety, it is very difficult, she insists. “It stresses me out that I am eight weeks without income. […] I had to go see my doctor and he prescribed me antidepressants, ”admits, moved, the resident of Havre-aux-Maisons.
And when you come from a remote region such as the Magdalen Islands, additional costs are required for treatment. She was paid the plane ticket to Quebec, but the allowances for accommodation and meals are insufficient, she said. Dolorès Cyr had to spend several hundred dollars out of his pocket.
She nevertheless considers herself “lucky”, because she can still count on a “half-board” from her deceased spouse. “I have to go and tap into this income to meet my needs,” said the one who still has her youngest studying in Chicoutimi in her care.
The office of Federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough recognizes that “too many claimants exhaust their employment insurance benefits before they can return to work. That is why we have made a commitment to extend the benefit payment period up to 26 weeks, ”it says. But this provision has not yet been adopted.
The system let her down
The local MP, the PQ, Joël Arseneau, is troubled. “We have deployed financial aid for everyone, the PCU and company, and the case of Mr.me Cyr shows that there is a flaw, he laments. She was available for treatment, the system let her down. “
The elected official believes that the government of Quebec must also take up the situation, which is a direct consequence of its decision to offload patient care.
- Quebecers awaiting surgery: 146 760
- Patients waiting for surgery for more than a year: 17 615
- Level of activity in surgery for all of Quebec from May 2 to 8, 2021: 85 %
Data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services as of May 18, 2021