Mar 27, 2020

By Gavin Day

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Health minister Christine Elliott faced more questions today over cancer surgeries deemed elective that have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the second day Elliott has faced questions about the operations as hospitals scale back elective procedures as they prepare for the worst of the pandemic. As she did on Thursday, Elliott insisted surgeries will still be done if it’s a matter of life and death.

“This is something we take into considering with each and every patient with with the assistance of cancer care Ontario who developed a pandemic plan years ago,” Elliott said at the province’s daily COVID-19 briefing. “They’re putting this plan into action now. I wish we didn’t need to do so but these are extraordinary times. We have to make very, very difficult decisions.”

Premier Doug Ford says he sympathizes with patients uneasy at seeing their surgical dates pushed back.

Ford’s brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, as well as his father Doug Sr. and mother Diane all died from cancer.

“My heart breaks for them,” said Ford. “The pain and the uncertainty–but we have to rely on our health professionals to make that call. There’s nothing more I want to see than these patients taken care of.”

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