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'Really relieved': Potential kidney transplant no longer delayed by B.C. health-care crisis

A Metchosin man who wants to help a Calgary toddler in desperate need of a kidney has been frustrated by the B.C. health-care crisis, which held up his potential kidney donation.

Greg Powell was interested in helping 22-month-old Henry Jensen by donating his kidney.

There was a snag, however, because Powell did not have a family doctor on Vancouver Island.

"I was informed by the transplant team that the next step now was referred to my family doctor, and I said I don't have one, and they said you need one," said Powell.

"So I thought, 'Not a problem,' and I made some phone calls. It turned out that it was a lot harder than I thought," he said.

Powell called 10 doctors offices around Victoria with no luck.

"It's the lack of family doctors in Victoria that's holding up this process," said mother Lisa Jensen.

But that luck has seemingly turned around.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the family told CTV News that, after some media attention, they've heard from a Victoria doctor who pledged to take Powell as a patient.

"We're really relieved we can move past this roadblock and move towards getting Henry the help he needs," said Jensen.

Henry needs the organ to vastly improve his quality of life.

Henry and his family moved from Victoria to Calgary last summer, where the toddler gets lengthy dialysis treatments to keep him alive.

The medical care is needed because his kidneys have failed. He's already had one removed, and needs a new one to replace it.

"A kidney transplant would completely change his life," said mother Lisa Jensen.

"Currently, he's sick, vomiting on a daily basis, due to a build up of toxins in his system."

The family found a potential kidney donor in their friend, Powell.

"If Henry can get a kidney transplant that changes his quality of life immensely," said Powell.

"So I thought, I've got two, maybe I can spare one for Henry."

While Powell searched for a family doctor, Henry had to endure up to 20 hours a week at the hospital.

"So that means he's in the hospital four days a week, [for] four to five hours every day, for the year. He doesn't get any breaks at all," said Jensen.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said he learned about Henry's plight on Tuesday and said that the ministry would step in to find a solution.

"This is an issue for this individual that can be solved, so we're going to do that," he said.

B.C.'s health minister acknowledges there's plenty of work to be done addressing a crisis that's left millions of British Columbians, like Powell, without a family doctor.

He points to a new funding model that has attracted 460 new full time family doctors to B.C. since February.

"On the broader issues, we're making some progress," said Dix. "We're going to have to always make more, but we're making some progress." Top Stories

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