Northern Manitoba patient denied flight for medical check dies on bus: report – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Oct 16, 2018

THOMPSON, Man. _ A Winnipeg media outlet says it’s learned that a northern Manitoba heart patient died during a 10-hour Greyhound bus trip to see a Winnipeg doctor after being denied a flight to get to the checkup.

CTV News says Abraham Donkey, a 58-year-old resident of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, died Oct. 3 along Highway 6 after getting on the bus in Thompson.

Donkey’s family says he recently had stents put in his heart and was contacted by the doctor for a followup appointment in Winnipeg, although he wasn’t offered a flight to make the trip.

Relatives also say they told health-care workers at Thompson General Hospital that he should not be alone, but a request for someone to accompany him was turned down.

Greyhound says passengers alerted the bus driver that Donkey was unresponsive, and his family says he died on board near the community of Fairford.

Indigenous Services Canada says in an email statement that it’s looking into the case, noting that flights are approved based on recommendations from nurses or doctors.

“As far as we know there are people who did try to resuscitate him, including the bus driver,” said Donkey’s niece Ramona Neckoway. “A flight should have been the first choice … you don’t send a heart patient on a 10-hour bus ride.”

Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Chief Marcel Moody said cancer patients and other First Nations people are being forced to take long bus rides for medical help.

He said more flights south and better health services in the north should be available.

“If we can avoid another death in a similar circumstance, then I think we have to try our best to help our people as best we can.”

Indigenous Services Canada said that based on the most cost-effective form of travel, the bus is the normal mode of transportation, taking the client’s medical condition into consideration.

The department also said it’s contributing $42 million over three years to support health services in Manitoba’s north, which includes local access to physicians and specialists.

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen issued his own statement expressing condolences to Donkey’s family and friends.

“We are reviewing specifics of his case,” he said.

Greyhound bus service in most of Western Canada will end Oct. 31. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)


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