“A medically stable but critically ill patient who was identified for transport to an Ontario hospital became destabilized before takeoff earlier this week,” a spokesperson for Shared Health said in an email. “The patient was taken care of by the intensive care transport team and immediately returned to the home facility. We can confirm that the patient died the next day. “
Patients transferred out of the province are carefully assessed by the intensive care team and detailed discussions are taking place between the sending and receiving teams of the patient, the statement said.
The rapid deterioration and death of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care is not uncommon and cannot be predicted, either in the intensive care unit or during transport, the spokesperson said.
Manitoba patients were transported out of the province for the first time to Ontario hospitals last week. As of Tuesday, 18 patients had been sent to hospitals in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Sudbury, London, Windsor, North Bay and Owen Sound.
For weeks, Manitoba’s healthcare system struggled to make room for a growing number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care.
Opposition Leader Wab Kinew spoke of the death during Question Period in the Manitoba legislature on Wednesday, calling on the provincial government to ensure the safety of sick patients as they are transferred between facilities.
“The transfer of these patients carries a great risk. This should only be done as a last resort, ”said the leader of the NDP.
“We need to know that every precaution, every measure is taken to ensure the safety of these patients. “
Brian Pallister said he was not aware of the death, but transportation for health care is done all the time.
“These are perilous times,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to take care of our patients in the best possible way. “
The number of places in intensive care units has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic, as hospitals postponed operations and converted premises to create new intensive care beds.
Saskatchewan health officials said Tuesday they plan to take at least one Manitoba COVID-19 patient, with potentially more to come in the coming days.