Sami: 4 year old, trapped in Syria and denied

These cases are drawn from CCRIHC’s medical charts and patients experience. The Names of the victims and other identifying information appearing in our media has been changed to protect them from further harm.  Many of them have suffered horribly on treacherous their refugee journeys and their lives may be still in danger. 

Sami was 4 years old when the war in Syria escalated rapidly. Born in Canada to a naturalized Canadian citizen, Sami and his family had traveled to the Middle East for a 2 week visit to family. On the way home they were trapped in Syria by the war. They were denied exit and held at gunpoint. It would be 9 months before they found a way to leave. Once back in Canada, Sami, who is autistic, needed urgent medical care. His face had become badly and painfully infected with a severe virus, his body was malnourished. His mother took him to the Emergency, where Sami was faced with the option of paying $500 up front to get treatment, or being turned away. His OHIP had been cancelled because he had been out of Canada too long. Additionally all our appeals to OHIP failed to have his health insurance re-instated despite the reality that Sami’s absence from Ontario was beyond his personal control.