“There are plenty of donors and bone marrow transplant technology is available. Laura died waiting for a transplant.”
Source: Daily Mail
A girl who died of leukemia was given a final send off after her friends signed her casket with loving messages on January 30. Laura Hillier got to experience a few normal childhood milestones like graduating high school and getting her senior year book signed before she died on January 20.
Laura might have experienced a few more milestones if a Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, hospital had been able to accommodate a bone marrow transplant for the young woman.
Numerous donors were a match with Laura and ready to donate, but Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital didn’t have enough beds in high-air-pressure rooms for the procedure.
Hospital staff told her they had about 30 patients with potential donors, but the means to only do about five transplants a month.
Laura was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 13. She had been completely cancer-free for approximately four years after her first battle with AML, and relapsed this past May.
Though Laura was able to achieve remission for a second time, she relapsed again in November 2015.
Dr. Ralph Meyer, Juravinski’s vice-president of oncology and palliative care, told Ontario’s TheStar.com there are plenty of others facing the same situation as Laura in Canada. He said donor registries are growing in size, and technological advances allow transplants to safely happen between people who are less of a match for each other are becoming more and more common.
It is crazy to have to be on a wait-list when you have a donor and you are ready to go,’ Laura told TheStar.com in July of 2015. Putting off the surgery meant Laura had to endure her fifth round of painstaking chemotherapy.
After her death in January, her obituary slammed Canada’s bed shortage as having ‘deadly wait times’: ‘In Laura’s last year with us, she was determined to bring public attention to the problem of deadly wait times for bone marrow transplants in Ontario and across Canada.’
After her death, the outpouring of love was so great for Laura, her family asked some people to only attend the visitation, rather than the funeral, because they were worried about running out of room.
Friends of the musical theater-loving teen came out in droves, signing the casket in marker, talking about her life and singing songs.
For those who wonder what universal “free” healthcare would look like, here’s a snap shot.