Manitoba

Manitoba NDP asks premier to call inquiry into woman's death during COVID-19 hospital transfer

If Manitoba's chief medical examiner won’t call an inquest into the death of Krystal Mousseau following a failed attempt to airlift her to an Ottawa hospital, then the premier should call an inquiry to find out what went wrong, the Manitoba NDP says. 

Serious questions remain unanswered in death of Krystal Mousseau: Wab Kinew

Krystal Mousseau, 31, died in May 2021 during an attempt to move her out of the province to receive care for COVID-19 . The NDP is asking Premier Heather Stefanson to call an inquiry into her death after the chief medical examiner said he would not investigate. (Krystal Mousseau/Facebook)

If Manitoba's chief medical examiner won't call an inquest into the death of Krystal Mousseau following a failed attempt to airlift her to an Ottawa hospital, then the premier should call an inquiry to find out what went wrong, the Manitoba NDP says. 

Dr. John Younes, the province's chief medical examiner, said in a letter to the Manitoba NDP that  he would not call an inquest into the 31-year-old woman's death, writing that "the cause, manner and circumstances" of her death are known, meaning "there are no grounds for the calling of an inquest in this case."

However, in a written summary of the province's critical incident investigation that Mousseau's family shared with the NDP, Prairie Mountain Health identified a few issues. 

It says health-care staff had challenges monitoring her blood pressure because they didn't have the right equipment with them, and that she wasn't receiving the right amount of at least one medication.

The summary also indicated that the transport company involved in the failed transfer has undergone extra training since Mousseau's death, without saying whether they had sufficient training when Mousseau was in their care. 

Mousseau died in May 2021 at the Brandon Regional Health Centre after suffering what the province described as "serious and undesired" unintended consequences as she was being transferred from an ambulance to an airplane at the Brandon airport.

During question period Wednesday, NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked Premier Heather Stefanson whether she would call an independent inquiry into these issues. Stefanson responded that Kinew should table the summary he was referring to so it would become part of the public record. 

"I think we all want to get to the bottom of this. What would help … is if the leader of the opposition could table the letter that he referred to yesterday, that he's referring to today," she said. 

Following question period, Stefanson said Kinew was putting forth "serious allegations" and should share the letter with the legislative assembly to back them up. 

Speaking to reporters afterward, Kinew said he chose not to do so because there was personal information in it that the family didn't want to share.

However, he added, that doesn't change the need for accountability. 

"At the end of the day, this is excuse-making by the premier of Manitoba," he said. 

"We've established some serious questions that remain unanswered when it comes to the death of Krystal Mousseau, and what I'm saying is one of the venues in which we could answer these questions is by calling an inquiry."

Mousseau's death happened when COVID-19 patients were being sent out of province last spring because Manitoba's health-care system didn't have the capacity to care for them.

A total of 57 Manitoba COVID-19 patients were sent out of the province during this time. Twelve of them died.

now