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Friday, October 13, 2006

My Sister's Story - from www.thestar.com

Starved of cure by red tape
Woman pleads for effective, less costly stomach pacemaker
Oct. 13, 2006. 06:14 AM

Christine Lee has an illness that has prevented her from eating or drinking anything for years.

The Oakville mother, 39, lives with gastroparesis. That means her stomach will not empty itself for the next stage of digestion, causing daily nausea and vomiting.

She stays alive by spending hours every day and night taking her nutrition, water and medication intravenously. It takes 10 hours a day for nutritional liquids, four additional hours to keep her hydrated and more time, depending on circumstances, for medication.

"I feel sick all day every day," she says. "I just want to feel better."

There is a device that would allow Lee to live a normal and happier life at a considerably lower cost to taxpayers than her current routine. It's a pacemaker which, implanted in her body, would regulate her stomach, moving food and liquid out normally.

She knows it works because she had one implanted in 1996 as part of an experimental program. It had to be removed due to complications from an unrelated surgery.

But her pleas to the bureaucracy at the province's health ministry for a replacement have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Her husband, John, and their two children, Andrew, 16, and Jessica, 15, also find their daily lives profoundly affected by Lee's medical condition.

Click here to download the complete story.....

If you'd like to support Christine in her efforts to have the gastro pacemaker approved, please send your comments via email to health@thestar.ca

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