04/03/2014 10:56 EDT | Updated 06/03/2014 05:59 EDT

Albertan with back trouble pained by province's public health system

OKOTOKS, Alta. - A former Calgary-area dentist who paid for back surgery in Montana rather than wait to have it done in Alberta has lost his bid to sue the government over a delay in getting the procedure done in his own province.

Darcy Allen, who is from Okotoks, argued unsuccessfully in Court of Queen's Bench that the prohibition on private health insurance in Alberta is unconstitutional.

Allen injured his back in late 2007 and was told it could take up to eight months to get an MRI scan under public health care.

A scan he had done at a private clinic confirmed disc damage and when pain medication and other treatments didn't work, the dentist was told he needed surgery.

He was scheduled for an operation in September 2011, but he instead paid to have it done in Montana in December 2009.

Allen, who eventually had to give up his practice due to his condition, had wanted to sue the province for damages resulting from the time he spent on MRI and surgical wait lists. (CHED)