Sask. woman stranded 600 kilometres from home while being refused care in Manitoba hospital

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Sask. woman stranded 600 kilometres from home
WATCH: A medical emergency has left a northern Saskatchewan family stranded in Saskatoon. They can't receive dialysis treatment in Flin Flon near their border town. Global's Easton Hamm now with the story of Maureen and Greg McBratney's painful summer. – Sep 28, 2023

“I’m praying I will be home by Christmas, but at the rate we are going, I’m not sure.”

Saskatchewan woman Maureen McBratney from Denare Beach is currently 600 kilometres from home. After her kidneys began to fail in June she was rushed to Flin Flon General Hospital — a 20-minute drive from her home.

She was then flown 600 kilometres away to Saskatoon to receive the initial emergency dialysis treatment.

McBratney is not able to return home to become an established as a dialysis patient in Flin Flon without a Manitoba healthcard.

“It’s not the same as being there with your support system,” McBratney said. “We can talk on the phone and we can video call but it’s not the same as having your daughter give you a hug in person or your grandson wrapping his little arms around your neck.”

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McBratney’s daughter Paige Baschuk, has been helping push Saskatchewan and Manitoba to create an agreement between the provinces so those with Saskatchewan residency can access the border town’s dialysis location.

Baschuk said the response to her letter was positive and the family spoke on the phone with the Northern Regional Health Authority shortly after in mid-August.

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“The right people responded, we felt like this was on track, we kind of let it go a little bit,” Baschuk said.

They left feeling positive and reassured that the issue would be fixed and McBratney would soon be receiving care closer to her family.

Two weeks later, the family received bad news on a phone call, saying McBratney would have to stay in Saskatoon.

In the meantime, the McBratneys have been staying in a friend’s vacant home while they are away.

“Not only is this an emotionally charged situation, but this is also financially charged for us,” McBratney noted. “It costs money to live here, in the city. We can’t stay here for free.”

She said they also continue to pay their bills in Denare Beach.

“We still have a hydro bill, we still have to pay taxes and everything else on our home that everybody else does. We were hoping to be home so we didn’t shut anything off.”

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Baschuk said that last they heard, different levels of government will be meeting throughout the month of October to address the policies and McBratney’s situation.

“The goals that they are working towards now is that mom can come home for a week here and a week there so that she can be home for Christmas.”

When Global News asked Manitoba Shared Health about McBratney’s situation, they confirmed that they are working towards a solution.

“We understand the desire for patients to access the care they need at a site that is closest to their home. Current regulations, including professional licensing restrictions for physicians and staff, govern how and when provincial health care can be delivered to patients living in another province,” read a statement from Shared Health.

“While current regulations do not allow for Creighton residents to access ongoing dialysis care in Flin Flon, efforts are underway to explore future opportunities for collaboration with our Saskatchewan counterparts.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said they are included in the collaboration efforts as well.

“Each province may use its discretion when accepting the ongoing care of out-of-province patients who require hemodialysis services. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have a separate agreement in place for patient access to the Flin Flon Hospital once Manitoba admits them to the program,” read a statement from SHA.

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They said they are currently working with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Manitoba Northern Regional Health Authority and Manitoba’s Renal Program to discuss a special arrangement for hemodialysis care.

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