“Stuck in Kenora with a heart monitor, nowhere to go”: Ontario man trapped by patient restriction in Manitoba
After experiencing chest pain, Peter (Arro) White received a call from the doctor last week to come to the hospital, so the 62-year-old and the guardian of traditional knowledge drove 75 kilometers north from his home to the lake. Woods District Hospital in Kenora, Ontario.
White comes from the Naotkamegwanning aboriginal in the Territory of the 3rd Treaty. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the cardiologist told him he needed a pacemaker.
“Someone told me that if I fell asleep, I would never wake up,” he said. “It’s hard to hear and know…they can do nothing but watch me here. [or] Life recovers if my heart stops beating. “
However, according to White, Kenora’s hospital does not perform pacemaker surgery, so a cardiologist at St. Boniface’s Hospital in Winnipeg, 200 kilometers away, agreed to complete the operation.
The date and time of the transfer has not yet been determined, but White said he was told that he could be taken to Manitoba Hospital at any time.
“My bag is packed.”
But on Tuesday morning, White learned that his transfer was rejected.
“I’m stuck. This is a matter of life and death, and I need help,” he said in an interview with CBC News that night.
Rescheduled operations for Thunder Bay
Since that interview, White’s nursing team was able to arrange another transfer to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Center. But he said the operation will not take place until Friday, instead of a “2.5-hour drive”, White will have to fly more than 500 kilometers east.
White said it was a long and exhausting process, but he thanked his doctors and nurses for their hard work and provided him with the care he needed.
Ray Racette, the president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Ontario, said that although he is installing pacemakers “in a safe zone”, in northwestern Ontario, patients are suffering from critical medical procedures. Longer delays and further transfers have become more common. Woods District Hospital Lake.
Manitoba limits patients from Ontario
In March 2021, following the surge in COVID-19 cases and pressure from intensive care units across Canada, Manitoba implemented a policy to restrict the transfer of health care services from Ontario to people at risk of life and limb.
In the early stages of the pandemic, Manitoba restricted the transfer of healthcare to most parts of Ontario, with the exception of patients in the northwest because of their proximity and existing institutional relationships.
The five-year memorandum of understanding signed in 2018 between Ontario and Manitoba formalized the relationship and payment arrangements to facilitate patients in northwestern Ontario to access Winnipeg’s acute care services.
But these additional restrictions make it more difficult for Kenora clinicians to refer because their access to Winnipeg is severely restricted. Racette said this also means that Winnipeg clinicians may agree to refer patients in northwestern Ontario, but may not be approved.
‘This is very frustrating’
He added that this has brought clinicians back to square one, trying to find another place to provide specific services.
“Of course, this is very frustrating for clinicians and patients waiting for transfer,” said Racette.
According to an email statement from Shared Health Manitoba, the policy restricting patients’ access to health care in northwestern Ontario will last until at least July 16. But Racette said he hopes that the policy can be cancelled as soon as possible, “so that we can access our preferred referral network more normally.”
Peter White agreed.
After learning about Thunder Bay’s new care plan, White said in a text message to CBC News: “I hope other people don’t have to go through this.”
Listen to Peter (Alo) White’s full interview with CBC Senior Morning Here:
7:30Peter White: Trapped in Kenora