Ottowa Hospital – My Weight Loss Surgery Experience So Far

Question Below Submitted By:  


Anyone thinking of going to the Ottawa Hospital for gastric bypass surgery–think again!

Originally in 2009, I had been referred to Hamilton for the surgery. After waiting approximately a year, I heard more money was being allocated to the Ottawa hospital. I asked my family doctor to refer me there also, thinking that the first one that called I’d go to. That was February 2010.

In the meantime, when I called Hamilton to see where I was on the list I was told I was going to be the 3rd person on the list to be called to start the process. However, because of the new funds, their list was divided up according to the patient’s postal code. Consequently, my original referral was sent to Ottawa.

When I contacted Ottawa they told me the Hamilton people had been put at the bottom of their current list. My referral time with Ottawa started with my February 2010 referral.

Nov 26, 2010 I had my first meet and greet appointment in Ottawa. We were basically told about the programs available and were given a chance to decide if we wanted surgery or dietary management. I chose the surgery.

At that time I had been diagnosed with Endomitreal cancer and had a hysterectomy. Research shows that obesity is a contributing factor to this type of cancer.

All through the summer I kept going to Ottawa for their various appointments, some of which were unnecessary. I live just north of Kingston and Kingston has psychologists, dietitians, and blood labs. But Ottawa insisted that I come to THEIR psychologist, dietitian and blood lab.

After missing days at work and spending money on gas I couldn’t afford, at the end of August 2011 I FINALLY met a surgeon. Thinking I was almost at the end of my journey, I paid $300 (approx) for the Optifast that Ottawa INSISTS their patients take for 3 weeks before surgery.

At this meeting she decided I needed a heart test that could only be done in a few places (Ottawa being the closest). She also insisted I have a colonoscopy.

I refused to go to Ottawa for the heart test (I was under the impression it would entail going there two days in a row). After calling the patient advocate I was told I could have a MIBI done in Kingston (which I was trying to have as much done here as possible in the first place!).

My heart tested fine and I got the ‘all clear’ from the Kingston cardiologist.

Next was a colonoscopy. That was done in Smith Falls at the end of September. A polyp was found, but it was NOT cancerous. The surgeon who did the colonoscopy indicated to me that it should not interfere with the bypass. A referral is being made to have it taken out in Kingston.

HOWEVER, NOW Ottawa is requesting that it be done before they give me a date for the bypass. It’s not that I won’t have the polyp removed – it can be done AFTER the bypass. I’ve been told wait times are quite long in Kingston for this procedure.

I have jumped through all of their hoops, lost time at work, lost money on gas, put off needed dental work and glasses in case I got a date for surgery and ended up short financially.

These tests should have been mentioned earlier in the process so the wait time isn’t dragged out. My life has virtually been on hold for at least 2 years. I work part-time and have two employers waiting to find out when I’ll be off work so they can cover my hours.

Ottawa is so worried about a patient becoming depressed after surgery – what they are doing and have done to me is worse in my opinion.

Currently I am waiting to hear what the patient advocate can do for me. If I had the money I’d go elsewhere FAST!

This is an overview of the way I’ve been treated at the Ottawa Hospital Bariatric Clinic. In my opinion, I wouldn’t refer ANYONE there. They seem more worried about people coming there for the appointments (remember, every time you walk in the door they get paid from OHIP).

While waiting to hear from the patient advocate, I’m also looking into other options.

Bottom line – if you go to Ottawa – don’t be surprised if you get multiple delays put in front of you.

Related Pages:

Bariatric Surgery Canada: Wait Times, Insurance Coverage & Surgeon Directory
Financing Bariatric Surgery to Make It More Affordable


Patient Responses to the Question Above

my experience so far.........

by: VioletVitamins

I have not yet had bariatric surgery but am on my way thru the process, in Ottawa and do in fact very much recommend their program. I am in the health care field and I know that while the process may be long but I feel that by the time I do have my surgery both my body and mind will be ready.

The major reason for blood testing being done in hospital is that now with the computerized systems the results can be gotten by the clinic much faster. I have had to have a GI scope, and a colonoscope and yes it is a long wait to be done thru the hospital but that is a funding issue to the Bariatric program so don't yell at the clinic yell at your MPPs.

I decided to look for other places still OHIP covered to have both procedures done and I did find one very easily. I did the same for the abdominal ultrasound.

Referrals for needed tests can be gotten from your family doctor or the Bariatric Clinic.

I feel that since I got myself morbidly obese then I have to take the responsibility to help my self get things done to get me to my end goal-surgery. Yes I miss time from work, pay for parking, have to drive to appointments but if I don't I stay fat and die!

The people you see at the TOH clinic all work as a team so that is why they want you to see their people. Having this type of surgery done is still elective but not reversible so before you have the surgery you better be darn well prepared and so for I think I will be and I know I have the support there that I will need. WE ALL HAVE TO WAIT, nobody is forcing any of us to stay in the Ottawa program so less complaining and more complying goes a long way.

I am working hard to get to my goals and will continue to do so happy to know it will be my day for surgery in time.

Do the work , have the surgery and move on

by: once fat ,ow fluffyand going down

I am in the weight management program at the Civic campus of TOH and I can say only great things about the people and the program. On Dec 31/13 I had my surgery. It was as I had been told, reinforced and expected. I was on D2 Trauma and very well looked after for all my medical and emotional needsPrior to my surgery I had to have a colonoscopy besides the usual upper gastric scope. I had to follow up with a CT scan with dye of my colon and so on. I too was told this would not interfere with my surgery and it did not. I did want all of the tests done before any surgery in case there was something there I needed to take care of.All the tests before and during the process of moving to gastric surgery are there to ensure that you are the healthiest you can be. If you have the surgery you are given anaesthesia...if you have a heart problem then you can be in trouble during your surgery and may not end up having it done at all. While is seems that many people including the above person is not a happy camper we have to remember this is life changing.Gastric roux-n-y surgery is MAJOR surgery and if you are not in the best health you can be for your weight and age then bad things can and do happen. The price of having tests and waiting longer so the "IF" factors are minimized should be a good thing. No surgeon or clinic wants people to be ill effected or die from what is ELECTIVE surgery.Grin and bear it, do all the tests and get on the surgery list.Oh and by the way the $300 worth and 3 weeks of OPITFAST is important as it causes your nice and fatty liver to shrink down in size so when the sharp instruments of surgery go in your liver does not get hit by them. It is a preventative measure that is LIFE SAVING!We all got to the point of this surgery because we love food and we ate it so be patient. It took you a while to eat the weight on, now give it a while to have everything done so when you do have your surgery things will go well.By the way I have not had any problems with nausea, vomiting, no ill effects and I am down 20lbs.

as of the 26th from the 31rt of Dec.

what a nightmare

by: Anonymous

I was referred to the Civic I went to the first mandatory meeting. I felt like I was in jail Bootcamp. The rude nurse np dictated she matter of fact told my husband and I that I will have my first heart attack before age 60. She gave me information and sent me for blood work. My GP received a call. Apparently, I was diabetic.

More blood work was done but I wasn't diabetic. I did go to the diabetic clinic. They asked me why I came since my blood work showed NO DIABETES. It turned out that the MP mixed up 2 files. She insisted that I was Shelly S. My name is Anne Not Shelly.

She also reported to my doctor that I refused to be weighed - Um, I WAS weighed. I kept these records as a reminder that although this surgery is performed by an "elite team", elite sometimes does NOT measure up.

To the person that said we got fat at our own hand, You are sooo off. I became fat from so much prednisone and bedrest. Please choose your words carefully, that was downright rude! I've NEVER been obese in my life until I developped health issues. While in hospital I was put on a high fat diet so thar I could, gain a bit of weight. Yes I was THAT sick.

Anyways that clinic and their team was a nightmare. Never again, I wont be treated like a second class citizen because I 'm fat. There are already way too many labels being put on people as it is.

we don't all eat ourselves to obesity.

by: Shontelle

I am early in the process to have bariatric surgery. My doctor and I feel the Vertical Gastric Sleeve is the best method for my circumstances, and i am eager to get the process started. I am curious what steps early on you took to find surgeons, and if any of you had the VGS.

I would also like to stress that contrary to earlier posts, we did not all get to this point due to a love of food, or because of how much we eat. I found out at only 23 years of age that I had Cushings disease. It was caused by a pituitary tumor and cause sever hormone imbalances, as well as insulin resistance causing incredible weight gain! I became obese due to a disease; I had no control over this at all. I am now taking back that control and seeking surgery to help me do that.

Witch surgery is covered By OHIP??

by: WAnonymous

What is the surgery called that is covered by OHIP?

Two Years Out

by: TES

I'm two years out from WLS at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. It was, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever done. Was it difficult? Yes. Is it still difficult? Yes. Anyone going into this thinking that it's a magic cure for obesity need to take their names off the waiting list. You will fail.

The surgery is merely The Tool you will use to lose the weight. And those complaining about all the hoops you need to jump through to get the surgery - suck it up. Those are also tools to help you succeed. These doctors and nurses see hundreds (if not thousands) of patients a year and THEY KNOW WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T. If they don't think you're quite ready for surgery - guess what? You're most likely not.

It took me just over two years from referral to being wheeled into the operating room. Did I get frustrated? Sure. It felt like forever. Once I made the decision to have the surgery, I wanted it RIGHT NOW! But I got it. The doctors/behavourist/NPs have rules and processes that they are required to follow as well. Do what you're told. Stop being drama queens/kings and focus on tasks they give you.

I went into surgery at 365 lbs and two years later I weight 204 lbs. I'm very happy. My target weight was 230 lbs, and I put that in the rearview mirror. Whenever I need some help or support, all I have to do is call the clinic and I get everything I needed.

You may not think that things are moving fast enough - but guess what? They are moving at the rate they are supposed to. Everyone's journey is different.

Good luck and enjoy your new beginnings - I know I sure have.

Its not the surgery its after.

by: FormerFatnowfluffy

Ok Dec 31 2013 I had my surgery at TOH. Yes the process is long but it is needed.

I have lost lost over 250 pounds and kept all but 20 pounds off I have also lost 30 pounds in skin but this is where the fun starts. OHIP will pay for your surgery but do not expect to have skin surgery covered. Too many watch the TV program about weight loss surgery and think great everything is paid. NOPE.

I have spend $100,000 in skin removal and have lots of rolls left. I thought I was done but remember that we have no elasticity left and things that start out great do fall, flop and fail so more to come and redo.

ALL said and done bariatric surgery can save your life and improve it sooooo much.
If you can't be patient, go thru the processes required and know there will be so much more to do after your loss then don't do it...

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