The Manitoba NDP is asking the justice minister to call an inquest into the death of a Brandon woman who died after an attempted 2021 transfer to an Ontario intensive care unit during the third wave of COVID-19.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the family is seeking answers about what happened to Krystal Mousseau, a 31-year-old mother from the Ebb and Flow First Nation — but also whether she would have lived if the transfer hadn’t been attempted.
"We believe it is important for the provincial government to call an inquest so that this family can have answers to some of the questions that they are still seeking to have resolution to," said Kinew during a news conference Thursday.
"And also to ensure their calls for justice, justice for Krystal, will be answered."
Mousseau was a patient in the Brandon Regional Health Centre’s ICU in May, when a decision was made to transfer her to Ottawa because the province’s care system was overwhelmed with patients.
The mother of two was in the air ambulance when she suddenly destabilized before the plane took off. She was rushed back to hospital, dying the next day (May 25).
In June, a Shared Health spokesperson said there were two investigations going on into the woman’s death: one a critical incident investigation with the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority and Shared Health; the other an internal review by the contracted flight company.
On Thursday, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said: "Our sympathies go out to the family and community of Krystal Mousseau. Ms. Mousseau’s death was reported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and an investigation was conducted. Under the Fatality Inquires Act, the sole responsibility for calling an inquest rests with the chief medical examiner."
Kinew said an inquest is needed, however, because it could do more than the other case investigations.
It would also serve as a learning opportunity, he said, "Especially at a time in Manitoba where you have hundreds of Manitobans who are being transported to hospitals across the province… Let’s push for these answers."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.