Ste. Anne man heads to India for MS treatment

By Marianne Curtis

In few short weeks, a Ste. Anne man is hoping for a second chance as he travels toIndiafor a controversial treatment.

On January 11, Robert Prior will be getting on a plane and flying toIndiawhere he will receive the controversial Liberation Treatment. It is the first ray of hope he’s had since finding out he had multiple sclerosis back in 1978.

Multiple sclerosis patients have benefited from the Liberation Treatment for MS, which is surgery which unblocks veins in the neck. It is a procedure that has raised a lot of recent controversy as MS patients demand access while health authorities demand more tests. Despite the controversy, Prior is prepared to give the procedure a chance.

“Robert found the info about the liberation treatment and it was making sense,” explained his wife Nicole Bedient.  Over the next two years, Prior researched the procedure and all information available and decided that it was worth the risk.

“It wasn’t available inCanadaso he started looking for anything else and anywhere else,” Bedient continued. An article in an American paper drew Prior toFargowhere he was able to be tested to see if he would be a likely candidate for the procedure.

“Robert needed to do the test to confirm the blockages before setting out into the wild blue yonder of neverland,” she added. “We made the appointment for a test inFargoonly to realize that this clinic was affiliated withNobleHospitalinPune,India,”

When the results returned showing that Prior would benefit from the procedure and appointment was made for January. He leaves January 11 and will face ten days in Hospital. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Anand Alurkar & Dr. Avneesh.

“We believe that we can get the success rate of the procedure well up from the current 50% over 1 year, compared with every other clinic that does this procedure on an almost outpatient basis,” stated Dr. Unmesh, Manager of Noble Hospital.

Unfortunately this chance at a new life comes with a hefty price tag for the couple. The trip is costing them $17,000 – $15,000 of which goes towards the procedure, hospital stay, flight, and meals. But to Proir’s wife, costs do not matter.

“Robert has been living in limbo for 8 years and so have I say this is a positive thing –  we will know and we can move on with life and accept whatever happens,” Bedient noted.  “Robert has no life to speak of – its expensive but what is a life really worth? We managed to borrow the money from the bank to do this because he needed to have this opportunity of a better life – it’s just something we had to do no matter what the cost.”

Always an active man, Prior’s diagnosis eventually forced him to shut down his business and put him in a wheelchair back in 2002.


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