'We weren't heard:' Northern Manitoba mom claims health-care negligence after daughter’s near-death experience
A mother from Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba is sharing her and her family’s experience at the isolated community’s nursing station, claiming their concerns about their daughter’s breathing were not listened to until the situation became critical.
Akita Colomb said her then 7-month-old daughter, Lucillia Francois, started having laboured breathing on August 29th.
The 24-year-old mother of three told CTV News over eight days the family went back and forth to the nursing station several times.
"Eight exhausting, long days and nights in and out of that nursing station, 2-3 times a day,” she said. “We weren't heard."
Colomb said each time the baby was looked at, but when her vitals stabilized, the family was sent home only to have to come back a few hours later when her breathing became distressed again.
In the early morning of September 6th Colomb said Lucillia’s condition had worsened to the point where she was gasping for air.
"She was on the verge of actually passing out from the lack of oxygen she was getting," she said.
In a panic, Colomb said she called the community’s medical van but after waiting 20 minutes, she ran over to her neighbours who gave them a ride to the nursing station instead.
It was then Colomb said Lucillia was transferred to Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg.
"Her body was on the verge of stopping breathing because she was so tired. She was literally fighting for air so immediately we decided to intubate her."
Colomb said Lucilla was put into a medically induced coma for five days and was on a ventilator for 10 days.
She said she was diagnosed with RSV, pneumonia and a blood infection.
Lucillia has since recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital and the family is waiting in Winnipeg for the all-clear from specialists before they head home.
Now that the family is on the other side of the emergency, Colomb is questioning why she and her daughter were sent home so many times when they repeatedly came to the Mathias Colomb Nursing Station for care.
"That is our only health-care system in that isolated community. The closest hospital is two and a half hours away,” she said. “I am thankful that I got her here. I fought for her but we shouldn't have even gone through what we have gone through."
STORY IS ALL-TOO-COMMON: MKO HEALTH SYSTEM NAVIGATOR
Bernice Thorassie, whose job it is to help northern First Nation families who are sent out of their community for health-care, told CTV News that Colomb’s story is not isolated.
“I am hearing that a lot,” the MKO Client Navigator told CTV News. “People go to the nursing station for pain for whatever reason it is, even a chest pain, they are given Tylenol plain."
She also told CTV a lot of clients go back to the nursing station for an ongoing problem, but it’s only when their condition is critical that they are sent out of the community to an urban hospital.
This week, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin (KIM), and the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) signed a declaration to eliminate all forms of Indigenous-specific racism in Northern Manitoba health-care.
Thorassie said the signing was a good first step, but there is more work to do since many of the nursing stations on remote First Nations, including the one on Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, are run by the federal government.
"I am sure they will listen to us and I am sure they will team with us and start the steps on eliminating the anti-Indigenous racism within our health-care," she said.
In March 2018 MKO and the federal government signed a memorandum of understanding. The goal was to transform health-care for people living on Northern Manitoba First Nations by bringing clinical care closer to home so people don't have to leave their communities.
Wednesday morning a spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs told CTV News in a written statement that the Government of Canada recognizes racism, resulting from Canada’s colonial history, remains embedded in our country’s health systems and continues to have catastrophic effects on First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and communities.
They went on to write that ensuring cultural safety, recognizing Indigenous knowledge and supporting Indigenous-led health services are central to achieving the goal of eliminating anti-Indigenous racism in health systems.
“The Government of Canada remains committed to working with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners and all those who work in health-care to increase safety and respect for Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s health systems,” the statement said.
COLOMB STILL WAITING FOR THE COMPLAINT TO BE ADDRESSED
Colomb said she filed a formal complaint about her experience at the nursing station, but has yet to hear back.
"We go in for one reason and that is to be assessed and our health concerns to be heard but it is not happening. I just want them to do their job," she said.
The ISC spokesperson told CTV News they could not comment on specific details or cases in order to protect patient confidentiality under the Privacy Act, but they did say, “We are aware of the concerns raised about care provided at the nursing station in Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, and we are working with partners to examine this incident under ISC’s incident management policy.”
Colomb wants others to hear about her family’s experience so they know they have to be persistent to get the health-care they deserve.
"Your health concerns can be heard but you are going to have to keep pushing,” she said. “Despite if they keep pushing you aside and trying to silence you. If something is wrong and you know it in your gut, then something is probably wrong."
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Starting on Thursday, eligible Canadians can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency to receive funding as part of the first ever federal dental-care program, and as of Dec. 12 applications will open for low-income renters looking to access the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit.
A 101-year-old message has been discovered by workers removing the base of a former statue in front of the Manitoba legislature.
Police across the country are seeing a rise in criminals preying on fears of the elderly with what's known as grandparent scams.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that while he's 'not looking for a fight' with Alberta, the federal government is not taking anything off the table when it comes to how it may respond to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's new 'sovereignty act.'
Oklahoma musician Jake Flint died unexpectedly over the weekend, hours after getting married, his publicist says. He was 37.
A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked at the trial of "That '70s Show" actor Danny Masterson, who was charged with three rapes.
A new survey reveals that Canadians make an average of 1.7 resolutions each year, but 68.6 per cent fail to stick with their resolutions after spending hundreds of dollars on their goals.
Christine McVie, the British-born Fleetwood Mac vocalist, songwriter and keyboard player whose cool, soulful contralto helped define such classics as 'You Make Loving Fun,' 'Everywhere' and 'Don't Stop,' died Wednesday at age 79.
New research suggests eating grapes might help protect against skin damage caused by UV light, including sunburns and skin cancer.
The Saskatchewan NDP called on the provincial government to act on surgical and diagnostic wait times while highlighting one of the thousands of people affected by the issue.
With funding from the federal government, the hours of operation for Awasiw – The Warming Place in Regina will be extended overnight beginning on Dec. 1.
A new homeless shelter in Yorkton has shown the need for more warm-up locations in the city, along with the possible implementation of a cold weather strategy.
A judge has cleared the way for a dog that fatally attacked another dog in Saskatoon to be killed.
Saskatoon police are requesting the public's help in finding a woman who was last seen in late October.
Krysta Arsenault has been a patient at Broadway Family Physicians since it’s been open but walked out the doors for the last time on Wednesday.
The Moose River Attack minor hockey team has travelled by helicopter, train, car, canoe and snowmibile to get to games and practices.
Police have reopened Highway 17 in northern Ontario after a series of crashes, including one fatal, Tuesday night.
Alamos Gold says one person has died after being hit by a vehicle underground at the Young-Davidson mine Tuesday afternoon. It is the second mining fatality in northern Ontario this month.
After skewering Danielle Smith's sovereignty act idea during the UCP leadership race, several of Alberta's cabinet ministers now say they'll happily vote for it.
By a unanimous vote, Edmonton councillors decided Wednesday to dip into city savings to open a new emergency shelter in a west end hotel.
Alberta now has 1,077 Albertans in hospital with the coronavirus, 46 of whom are receiving care in ICUs.
Here's what you need to know about Ontario's 2022 annual auditor general report.
A winter weather travel advisory has been issued for parts of the Greater Toronto Area, warning of reduced visibility due to heavy bursts of snow.
A massive Ontario-wide investigation into child exploitation has led to more than 100 people being charged, police announced on Wednesday.
Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek says she wishes more thought would've went into Danielle Smith's first move as premier.
A decrease in temperatures is likely leading to an increase in utility and heating bills as Calgarians crank up their thermostats in preparation for another cold snap.
Calgary police were on the run Wednesday, trying to catch a car thief who stole – and then ditched – vehicle after vehicle.
The Quebec government will spend the next four years trying to reverse what it says is the decline of French in Montreal and transform the province's economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Premier Francois Legault said Wednesday. Legault delivered his inaugural speech — equivalent to a throne speech — to the 43rd session of the legislature, almost two months after his Coalition Avenir Quebec was re-elected with a large majority.
Strong, gusting winds knocked out power to at least 45,000 customers in southern Quebec Wednesday evening, according to Hydro-Quebec.
More than 300,000 Quebec children have the constitutional right to education in English, though only about three in four attend English schools, new Statistics Canada census data shows. Statistics Canada is collecting this data for the first time, giving Quebec's English education system a real picture of the situation.
LRT INQUIRY | 'Unconscionable,' 'egregious:' Scathing Ottawa LRT inquiry report slams senior city staff, RTG
The construction and maintenance of the Ottawa LRT project was plagued by persistent failures in leadership and saw 'egregious violations of the public trust,' a scathing new report has found.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at ten key takeaways from the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry final report released on Wednesday.
The conclusion of the Ottawa LRT inquiry report's executive summary stands out for its scathing criticism of senior city staff and Rideau Transit Group.
A retired RCMP officer who gathered information about “serious allegations” regarding another police force in 2020 has harsh words for the failure of Nova Scotia’s police watchdog to officially investigate.
A crowd of around 150 people gathered at St. George's Anglican Church Wednesday to remember Luke Landry. The 35-year-old died last Monday inside a public washroom next to Moncton City Hall.
New Statistics Canada numbers show a sharp decline in the amount of land being used for farming, especially in the Maritimes.
Police have charged 107 people after a massive month-long child exploitation investigation spanning the entire province.
The Region of Waterloo is considering closing the Highway 85 on and off ramps at Lancaster Street in Kitchener and asking for public feedback on the idea.
Waterloo regional police have released a video of an individual they want to speak to in connection to a suspicious fire in Woolwich Township.
Several groups of good Samaritans came to the aid of commuters during the harrowing snowstorm that rocked B.C.’s Lower Mainland Tuesday night.
The winter wallop that slammed into British Columbia’s south coast Tuesday hit right in the middle of the evening commute, creating a critical mass of gridlock that delayed plows and sanding trucks.
Frigid temperatures are in the forecast for the Lower Mainland Wednesday night, bringing with them the risk that melted snow will turn to ice and create hazardous conditions on the region's roads.
Tow operators were in clean-up mode on Wednesday, after a night of desperation on the Malahat highway prompted people to abandon their vehicles Tuesday.
British Columbia's police watchdog is investigating after a man suspected of committing an armed robbery near Duncan, B.C, was later found dead near Lake Cowichan, B.C.
Students and staff at a Victoria-area high school were sent home early Wednesday after someone threatened a shooting at the school. The Oak Bay Police Department says it was contacted by Oak Bay High School administrators around 10:30 a.m. after the threat was found written on a stall door in a girls' washroom.