Hughes brings growing cry for liberation therapy to Parliament

OTTAWA – Many Canadians living with MS see hope in the Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) surgery treatment and feel it should be made available in Canada, according to Carol Hughes.

The MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing brought that message to parliament today as she tabled a large petition that called on the Minister of Health to make CCSVI, also known as liberation therapy or the Zamboni treatment, available to more Canadians by making it available in Canada.

The procedure itself is relatively common for non-MS patients with blockages in their veins. Developed by Italian Dr. Paolo Zamboni with early reports of significant improvements for MS patients, the treatment has become a beacon of hope in the MS community.

Currently, people who want liberation therapy have to travel abroad because it has not been approved by Health Canada. The high cost of travel and the treatment itself mean that only MS patients with enough money are able to receive it.

“Mr. Speaker, it is clear that a great many individuals with MS want the procedure,” Hughes told the House of Commons. “A good portion of those are only held back by the tremendous cost of receiving the treatment abroad.”

“It is time for the Minister to stem the tide of Canadians who are travelling abroad to receive Liberation Therapy and make this otherwise common surgical procedure available to Canadians, in Canada,” said Hughes. “They feel it would help remove the expensive burden from the patients and also allow for better follow-up care.”

The petition was the product of hard work by Kapuskasing resident Louise Lamontagne who travelled abroad to receive the treatment in January of this year.

“I think that it’s sad that we have to go out of the country to get a small treatment like this,” said Lamontagne who indicated that her quality of life has improved since the treatment.