When Calgarian Melissa Lawson-Larsen lost all feeling in her face from the nose down, she thought she was having a stroke.
So she headed to the emergency room.
Once inside, Larsen disclosed that, like a growing number of Canadians suffering from multiple sclerosis, she had travelled abroad a few months earlier for a procedure known as the liberation treatment – angioplasty preformed on the veins of the neck that, though still unproven, seems to have eased the MS symptoms of some patients.
Larsen was concerned the numbness was a sign of blood clots – a common side-effect of the procedure. But she was disappointed by the lack of aftercare provided.
Darrel Gregory of the MS Society of Canada said his organization has had similar complaints.
“Some people have gone to their doctor after (treatment abroad) and have been told the doctor doesn’t believe in it and so they don’t get the aftercare they deserve,” said Gregory.
But according to spokesperson Howard May, Alberta Health and Wellness does “require doctors provide medically necessary treatment for anyone who comes into their office.”
However, many questions have arisen about what aftercare patients like Larsen should
So much so, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta issued a statement last week
providing information on how such MS patients should be managed.
While the document is the first of its kind to be issued in Canada, Gregory is not convinced it will have a big impact.