News / Edmonton

Wildrose's Brian Jean carries the memory of his son as he aims to fix Alberta health care

As Brian Jean campaigns across Alberta attempting to bring the Wildrose to victory, he carries two things — a binder from his time in the House of Commons, that he’s quick to say he paid for, and the memory of his son.

Just weeks before the campaign, Jean’s 24-year-old son Michael died of lymphoma. His son’s illness was a mystery for the family for months. Jean said Wednesday the way Alberta's health care system failed his son is a big part of why he is running.

“My son died because they wouldn’t get a test, a $2,000 test.”

Jean said he told staff he would do anything when his son was admitted in November, including paying out of pocket if need be.

“My son is the most important thing in my life and I will borrow and do whatever I can do to for him,” he said he told staff.

He said after several misdiagnoses a frontline worker finally told him what needed to be done, but it was too late.

“Finally this woman told me she would be fired, but there was a $2,000 test, which I ordered the same day and it was too late, and he died,” he said.

He said he found out that test was lost in the bureaucracy, which is why it didn’t happen.

“That test had to go throw a 30-day approval by the Alberta government and that meant it had to go in front of a bureaucrat or a board and I think that’s wrong.”

Jean said his son’s case illustrates the problems facing the system, because that test wouldn’t have just helped his son it could have moved him out of hospital.

“If you get a $2,000 test done than you get this guy out of the hospital, instead of waiting and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.

He said the overly managed system puts too much focus on process and not enough on results and he would flip that around.

“You concentrate on healing the persons not just treating the person.”

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