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July 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 2,300 people placed on surgical waiting lists during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada died between January 2020 and December 2020, a report from Canadian thinktank confirmed last month.

Within Canada, some 353,000 surgeries, procedures, and clinical consultations were postponed or cancelled owing to lockdown measures implemented as part of the government response to COVID-19. The impetus behind the postponement of non-essential treatments was to free up bed space in preparation for a surge in COVID-19 admissions, and to maintain physical distancing between patients in wards. were able to confirm 2,367 deaths by filing freedom of information requests with numerous health authorities across the country, obtaining the number of patients removed from surgical waiting lists due to dying before being able to attend their appointment. The thinktank warned that the number may be suppressed as the relevant “data from Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, two major health regions in British Columbia, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and several hospitals in Ontario” were not tracked and thus could not be added to the tally.

In addition to the lack of transparent information from all provinces, the report notes that “cases where a patient did receive surgery but died during or shortly thereafter due to conditions worsened by the wait” were not counted, likely contributing to underreporting.

The report provided figures from most Canadian health authorities from the 2019-2020 fiscal year, as well as the 2020 calendar year, meaning there are three months of crossover reports. However, some authorities did not provide figures for the period of the coronavirus outbreak, making a direct comparison impossible without first adjusting for the discrepancy, the report said. Despite dealing with fewer reports, the figures obtained since the start of the COVID crisis were 111 deaths higher than those recorded between April 2019 and March 2020.

The report also documented patients who had died whilst waiting for “Diagnostic scans/Appointments with specialists,” showing that 6,202 patients had died before consultation. “These cancellations ranged from CT scans and ultrasounds to urology consultations and coagulation follow-ups,” the reports states, adding that the “vast majority of data provided concerned diagnostic scans rather than information on appointments with specialists.”

Numerous cases, according to the report, showed that “patients waited longer than the government’s target time.” One such example was found in Ontario, “where the government does not allow patients to pay for private MRI scans, several patients died after waiting longer than the target time for an MRI.” Overall, between April 2019 and December 2020, the report found that over 10,000 people had died “while waiting for surgery, a procedure, diagnostic scan or appointment with a specialist.” President Colin Craig, who authored the report “Died on a Waiting List,” explained that “[p]atient deaths occurred after waiting less than one month to more than eight years. Patients passed away while waiting for procedures that could be linked to their cause of death (e.g., cardiac surgery), as well as procedures which could have increased their quality of life during their remaining years (e.g., cataract surgery, knee surgery, etc.).” Craig noted that his report demonstrates “that Canada’s rationed health care system ultimately fails many patients – either by letting them spend their final days with a reduced quality of life, or by leaving them to die.”

“The most unfortunate part about so many patients dying on waiting lists in our health care system is that many of these tragedies could have been prevented,” Craig added.

In Ontario alone the postponement of many thousands of medical surgeries and procedures, deemed non-essential, has led to an estimated backlog amounting to 3.5 years, according to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), and costing the taxpayer 1.3 billion CAD, more than double the region’s annual budget.

The FAO report explained that, “[f]or context, in 2019, Ontario hospitals completed 649,300 elective surgeries and 4.3 million non-emergent diagnostic procedures. This means that the surgical and diagnostic backlog is expected to reach nearly two-thirds of total annual volume for all elective surgeries and non-emergent diagnostic procedures in a normal year.”

At the onset of surgical restrictions in March of 2020, all ten Canadian provinces and three territories confirmed that, despite elective surgeries being pushed back, abortions would continue without any restrictions or impediments in place, essentially rendering abortions a necessary medical procedure in the country.

Youth coordinator and researcher for Campaign Life Coalition Josie Luetke told LifeSiteNews at the time that if abortion is a “choice,” then this would indeed make it an “elective procedure, not a non-elective one.” Luetke added that the unfettered continuation of abortions in Canada “is despicable,” especially “while genuine health care providers are running themselves ragged trying to save lives.”

“When critical surgeries to remove cancer are being canceled amidst this pandemic, it is actually insane that Canada is insisting that access to abortion remain unfettered,” she said.