Sunday November 19th 2017

“We are sorry”

A member of the Alberta chapter of the MS Society of Canada is apologizing, saying the society should have been more supportive of the controversial CCSVI treatment.

Speaking to CTV News at the society’s 30th annual awards banquet Saturday afternoon, an MS Society spokesperson says they should have listened to the successful stories patients have had when getting the treatment done.

“We are sorry,” says Darrel Gregory with the MS Society. “I think we came down too heavily on the side of research and not enough empathy for patients and what they’re going through.”

Gregory says the organization will focus more on addressing those who went overseas to get the controversial treatment, and to see that patients who haven’t can get treated right here at home.

CCSVI is a procedure that opens up the blocked veins in MS sufferers’ necks through balloon angioplasty. The procedure is currently not approved in Canada, causing many patients to go overseas to get it done. But the surgery costs thousands of dollars that they would have to pay out of their own pocket.

The MS Society has pitched in $3.4 million towards CCSVI research. The member tells CTV News that they understand that results for the research being done will take some time before they’re released, but that they will push the Alberta government to get clinical trials approved rather sooner than later.

“We want it to be available for people because we know that it works for some people,” says Gregory. “Some people have said that it has resulted in an improvement in their quality of life and that’s worth something and those stories need to be told.”

Gregory also said they will be working with patients who have undergone the procedure to get the proper follow-up care they need. He says that is not happening with a lot of patients now.

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