Patients gather to support doctor 0
Organized by MS patient and medical marijuana user Sandy Daviau, he said he wanted to show support for Dr. Rob Kamermans and his wife, RN Mary Kamermans, before their first court date.
The two medical professionals are facing a string of charges after helping patients with grave and debilitating diseases access medical marijuana by signing consent forms from Health Canada.
Health Canada allows doctors to approve patients for use of the medicine and once approved the patient can grow their own, designate a grower or source the medication through Health Canada.
Daviau said the Saturday event was an important opportunity to show the damage caused to patients by the raid on the Doctor’s office last January that saw their confidential medical files seized.
Patients gathered with signs and banners and many had traveled a great distance, in a weakened state, to attend and share their stories.
Consistently, the patients gathered said they were upset that their private, confidential, personal medical files were taken by police and read.
No patient gave consent to share the contents of their medical files with the police investigators.
Also at the gathering were patients who were not using medical marijuana. One family was there with their young daughter. The child was a patient and both parents said Dr. Kamermans is an excellent health care provider.
Even the municipality that Dr. Kamermans lives and works in passed a motion directing a letter to be sent in support of the doctor to Health Canada and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
At the gathering there were honks, waves and cheers of support from passing motorists as those gathered with canes and walkers along the street showed off their messages of support.
Support wasn’t only being offered for the Doctor and his wife.
Patients were supporting each other with suggestions of how to deal and manage some of the challenging disease symptoms. The event was viewed by many as a positive gathering that felt, as one participant said, like a support group.
Daviau explained that when he wakes up each day with his MS, a tough part of his life now for 13 years, he never knows what to expect.
“I wiggle my toes and then wonder who’s with me today,” he sighs.
Cancer patients, MS sufferers and those living with the after effects of crushing injuries took turns with signs and standing in support of their doctor as he prepares for a court date this week. Many of them have been in touch through the internet and were meeting in person for the first time.
Suzi Berardini has a bright smile that you notice before you notice her walker. She was one of the first to show up with her sign. She has MS.
“I am grateful I didn’t have to convince Dr. Kamermans that my pain is real,” she said. “I didn’t get shut down before I finished saying the word ‘cannabis’.”
Berardini says that the arrest and investigation of Dr. Kamermans has caused other doctors to fear the police and what they can do.
“What’s been done to Dr. K is so wrong,” she said. “No one wants to sign with this fear. I have MS and I can take nothing or I can take this (marijuana) and be a mom and take care of myself again.”
The sign she holds up says, “To Dr. K I’m a person, not a problem. Thank you.”
The patients gathered hope that things will go well for Dr. Kamermans as he finds himself at the beginning of a long legal process.
This group wants to help and will use their limited energy to do so but as Daviau said, there needs to be a permanent solution that includes legal access for patients.
As signs and shirts at the rally say, “Stop busting the sick.”
“Our diseases will last a lifetime so we need to sort this out,” Daviau said.
Dr. Kamermans faces a list of local charges, including three counts of fraud, four counts of uttering forged documents, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime.
Mary Kamermans, a registered nurse, is charged with fraud, possession of property obtained by crime, laundering proceeds of crime and four counts of uttering forged documents.