HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia mother who says she waited two years for her cancer diagnosis has released a viral, highly emotional video calling out Premier Stephen McNeil for not declaring a health-care crisis in the province.
"To the premier of Nova Scotia, I dare you to take a meeting with me … and tell me there is no health-care crisis," Inez Rudderham, 33, said in a viral Facebook video that has been viewed over 1.5 million times.
In the tearful, emotionally charged video, the mother of a four-year-old daughter said she went undiagnosed with Stage 3 anal cancer for two years due to her lack of access to a family doctor.
Rudderham states she has received 30 rounds of radiation to her pelvis, which has left her "barren and infertile." When taking her health concerns to the emergency rooms, Rudderham says she was brushed off.
"It's OK though, right? Because they caught it. They caught it when it was Stage 3," says a teary Rudderham, her head swathed in a scarf.
"I fought. I fought for my life."
Rudderham also says she has been waiting for mental health services since January, only to find out this month that she can only get an appointment in mid-July.
"You want to tell me that there's no health-care crisis in my province?"
There were 55,801 people on a waiting list for a family physician in Nova Scotia, or about six per cent of the province's population, as of Dec. 1.
"There are not enough physicians to meet the health-care needs of Nova Scotians," a report released in January by Doctors Nova Scotia said. "We believe that every Nova Scotian deserves access to a family physician."
McNeil said Thursday he's asked health officials to meet with Rudderham, and will wait for word from them.
"I obviously feel for this person, I did see part of the video. I've asked the department to reach out, to be in contact with her to find out the issues that she has and how we can best ensure that she gets the appropriate treatment but also the appropriate supports," he told reporters.
The video posted on Tuesday has been shared more than 61,000 times. A crowdfunding campaign for Rudderham has raised over $11,000.
"This is the face of the health-care crisis in Nova Scotia, and I dare you to tell me otherwise," she says, pointing to her own face.
McNeil said his government is trying to update an antiquated health system, and said other jurisdictions face similar issues.
"There are challenges in the health care system in ... access to primary care, we've always acknowledged that," McNeil said.
(Global News, The Canadian Press)
On the web: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.inez/videos/10156155486545812/
The Canadian Press