It is considered a game changer for northern Ontarians who live with obesity and need intervention.
A team of surgeons at Health Science North recently completed the region’s first bariatric surgery that eliminated the need to travel to Toronto.
It was led by one of the two bariatric surgeons inside the hospital, Dr. Naomi-Rose Harvey, a specialist in the field.
“I think it’s great that we can now offer bariatric surgery because, as you already know, we already had a regional treatment and assessment center, which is basically Sari Bariatric Clinic,” Harvey said.
“They did multidisciplinary assessment and care, but when people were ready for surgery or at least for their consultation, they had to go to Toronto.”
According to data provided by HSN, in 2011-2019, more than 5,000 patients from northeastern Ontario were referred for evaluation, and more than 1,900 were referred to southern Ontario.
“It makes it a lot easier for people, it also makes a difference in how much people are willing to take care of it in the future,” Harvey said.
“Sometimes people have questions that can be solved over the phone…
Bariatric surgery is commonly used as an alternative for those who have not been able to lose weight through diet or exercise.
Obesity can lead to other conditions և diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, cancer: depression.
Harvey considers it a significant clinical achievement for both hospital and regional patients.
In 2014, according to Ontario Public Health, 31 percent of people in northeastern Ontario were obese and 20 percent nationally.
“Some people who may have been interested in bariatric surgery are now considering it because it does not mean the same journey and isolation during surgery,” Harvey added.
“I think it’s great that we have a surgeon right here in Sudbury who saves people a lot of time – money, he just comes here, he brings these doctors north,” said Hanelli Mack.
Mackie, who lost more than 100 pounds after surgery, set up a support group on Facebook called the Sudbury Bariatric Assessment Support Group. It now has more than 1,100 followers.
“Nine years have passed for me so far, my quality of life has increased tenfold,” he said. “I no longer have problems with mobility, pain, I have a lot more energy … When I was 30, I felt 50 և Now, when I’m 50, I feel 30, so I’ve gained 20 years life. “
Mark Hartmann, HSN Senior Vice President of Patient Experience, said the delivery of bariatric surgery was a natural next step, based primarily on recruiting doctors.
He said patients came from as far away as Hearst, Timmins and Salt Stein. Marie, so this will save patients a few hours: hundreds of miles.
“We expect to have about 75 surgeries by the end of March this year, and then assess where things are,” Hartmann said.
“I think there are a lot of things we can do with virtual care these days, but that does not replace casual visits, contacting certain suppliers, in certain situations,” Hartmann added.
“So I think that where home care is possible, we know, in the case of bariatric surgery, there are a lot of interactions before surgery to prepare people.”
Hartmann said HSN is working on developing its surgical capabilities, hoping to increase the number of bariatric surgeries performed each year.