Sask. community helps young man fight kidney failure

Wyatt Hall heading into Regina General Hospital for dialysis treatment. With medical expenses piling up, Hall hopes to receive a transplant within the next year.
Photo by: Olivia Lawrence

Wyatt Hall, an 18-year-old from Kennedy, had no previous medical history before the night his kidneys failed.

“When he got home from work, he wasn’t acting like himself,” said Christy Hall, Wyatt Hall’s mother, recalling the night of Dec. 19, which not only changed the state of her son’s health, but placed significant financial stress on her family.

Christy took her son to Moosomin Hospital as a precaution. After being assessed by doctors he was quickly transferred by ambulance to Regina General Hospital. By 3:30 a.m. Christy Hall and her husband were told their son’s kidneys had shut down, working at only two per cent.

“It is still hard to believe I almost died because I didn’t really have any signs or symptoms,” said Wyatt Hall. “Now I depend on dialysis and prescriptions to stay alive.”

Hall spent 12 days in hospital over Christmas and was released with news that he needed a kidney transplant within the next year. In the meantime he was to travel four hours three times a week to Regina to receive dialysis.

“Medical and travel expenses cost us $1,000 a week,” said Christy Hall. “At the moment we have received no financial funding other than community support. The community has been wonderful.”

Through a GoFundMe page and a basket raffle, the south east town of Kennedy, with a population of only 200, raised $12,000 for the Hall family.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/v85xq-wyatt-hall?qid=371065d318352e5a2163f2853dd102c4

“It is just what you do in a small town,” said community member Sharron Vickers. “I have known Wyatt since he was young and my son played hockey with him. I know if we were in their shoes they would do the same.”

Wyatt started a new job at PIC Pig Barn in Kipling before his kidney failure occurred. He was two weeks short of being out of the three-month probation period, which would have made him eligible for health benefits through work.

The Halls were assigned a social worker by the government and were told to keep all of their receipts for reimbursement, which would be collected at dialysis by the social worker.

“We have barely seen the social worker and my phone calls haven’t been returned,” said Christy Hall. “Wyatt finally saw her this month and gave her the receipts so I am hoping we finally see some reimbursement. It has been an expensive three months.”

Christy decided to contact an ombudsmen for more funding information. The ombudsmen recommended she look into the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit and the Caregivers Benefit. Wyatt Hall is too sick to work at all and Christy Hall is losing 30 hours a week at her own job to look after her son. Currently the Halls are going through the application process through TeleMiracle to see if they are eligible for some funding. TeleMiracle is a non-profit organization in Saskatchewan that provides resources for medical assistance and equipment to residents in need.

“We have decided to take a six-week home dialysis course in Regina,” said Christy Hall. “If we both pass we can do dialysis at home. It will mean less driving expense while we wait for a transplant, but I will need to take six weeks off work and pay for six weeks of hotels.”

Hall will be assessed by a doctor March 22 before he can be officially placed on Saskatchewan’s transplant list. It is unknown where Hall will be placed on the wait list but the family is hoping his young age will make him a priority.

In Saskatchewan there are currently 50-60 people waiting for a transplant according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

https://www.saskhealthauthority.ca/Services-Locations/organ-tissue-donation/Pages/KidneyTransplant.

“Right now it is a waiting game, which is hard” said Christy Hall. “But we are hopeful we will have answers soon.”

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