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Manitoba man trapped in convoy protest while trying to drive his sister to emergency room


A Manitoba man trying to get his sister to the emergency department says he was trapped in a convoy protest on the highway for more than an hour.

Last Thursday, Terry Titchkosky, a 74-year-old man from Morden, Man., said he was attempting to drive his 82-year-old sister to the Boundary Trails Health Centre as she was experiencing pain in her heart and side.

However, as he was driving to the hospital along Highway 3, Titchkosky said traffic was backed up.

"I thought at first it was an accident that happened on the highway, but as I got closer I could see it was a convoy led by a semi-truck in each lane of the highway and a farm tractor on the shoulder," he said.

"I immediately put on my four-way flasher and honked my horn and tried to get attention and roll down my window."

He said while some people in the convoy let him pass, the trucks leading the protest did not see him.

"I just kept waving and honking my horn but I couldn't get the attention of the people leading the protests," he said, adding he doesn't have a cell phone and so he was not able to call for help.

"We were stranded in the slow-rolling convoy going to the emergency department."

What would normally be a five-minute drive ended up taking Titchkosky an hour and 15 minutes. He said he was eventually able to take an exit off the highway and get to the hospital where his sister was admitted.

Titchkosky wasn't the only one delayed by the protest.

A spokesperson for the Southern Health-Santé Sud regional health authority told CTV News two ambulances trying to get through to the hospital were held up in the traffic for over an hour.

"Fortunately, the ambulances were not on critical transfers and as such no critical incident occurred," the spokesperson said in a statement to CTV News.

"However, the potential for this to have become a critical incident where someone could have suffered a severe outcome due to a delay in receiving medical treatment was very real."

The spokesperson said the hospital was not aware of the convoy until some staff members who were delayed by the convoy arrived at work.

Titchkosky said he called RCMP after he brought his sister to the hospital and was told at the time no laws were being broken.

Manitoba RCMP confirmed it received the report following the incident. A spokesperson for the Mounties said they would have been able to help had they been aware of what was going on at the time.

"As for shutting (the convoy) down, our response is to have an open dialogue with the organizers so they understand where we’re coming from and that we understand their needs," the spokesperson told CTV News in an emailed statement.

"If access is still being prevented during this dialogue, we do have options under the Highway Traffic for charges including the removal of vehicles."

In a statement on Facebook, RCMP said the situation was, "completely and utterly unacceptable."

"The Manitoba RCMP will continue to closely monitor these demonstrations and will not tolerate any blocking of roads or highways that lead to hospitals," the statement reads.

"We uphold and recognize the right to peaceful demonstrations. However, it is not a right to prevent fellow Manitobans from accessing emergency medical care."

Titchkosky said he would like to see a protocol in place for future convoys, so RCMP and hospitals are aware of it beforehand so no one else is delayed access to healthcare.

"I don't begrudge them the right to protest. I just think that you have to protest under safe conditions, especially when it's near hospital," he said. "Medical attention comes first." Top Stories

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