March of Dimes Canada offers alternative to long wait times in northern Ontario

For Immediate Release:  Residents of Northern Ontario know that trying to see a medical specialist can be a long and frustrating journey. 

Donald Saunders, for instance, waited six months for hip surgery in Timmins’ hub hospital. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated so rapidly that the surgeon no longer felt comfortable operating. Saunders was then referred to Sudbury’s Health Sciences North, but hasn’t heard anything yet. 

Thanks to March of Dimes Canada’s Northern Medical Clinics, though, he saw hip and knee specialist Dr. Evan Watts in late November, and had his surgery on December 4th. 

“This is a problem across the region,” says Annie Janson, Northern Medical Clinic Supervisor. “The average wait time for hip and knee surgery in the north is 1.5 to 2 years. And that time is often spent in increasing pain and decreasing mobility.”

That’s where the Northern Medical Clinics come in.

The program brings doctors with various specialties – sports medicine, hips and knees, spine, upper extremities, foot & ankle, osteoporosis, and pediatric orthopedics, for example – to Cochrane and Kirkland Lake so Northern Ontarians don’t have to travel south for the initial assessment and the follow up care they need; however, all surgeries are performed in the GTA.

“We see patients from all over the north,” Janson continues. “They come to us because otherwise they’d be put on a very, very long waitlist.”

“One patient at our last clinic saw two specialists from two separate areas of care in one day – actually, within a single hour. They figured out what was causing his issues, which was not what he was initially referred for, and scheduled surgery.” 

The next clinic, which will include Dr. Watts (hip & knee specialist), Dr. Malempati (spine specialist) and Dr. Abouali (sports medicine specialist), is scheduled for January 25, 2019. Further details about the Northern Medical Clinics is available at ​

You can also call Annie Janson at 705-272-2499.


March of Dimes Canada is a nationally registered charitable organization providing support services to people with disabilities, their families and caregivers across Canada. Our goal is to enhance the independence and community participation of people with physical disabilities every day through a wide range of programs and services across Canada.  For more information, please visit or call 1-800-263-3463.  

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