Closed road leaves woman waiting 45 minutes for ambulance

A woman who lives outside the Perimeter Highway says she worries for the next person who needs an ambulance after she was left waiting 45 minutes because of a road closure.

Just north of the Perimeter is where Nicole Dureault-Mohr and her husband live.

She has severe asthma and last Saturday she said a COVID-19 infection brought on a severe asthma attack that prompted her to call 911.

“I’m a retired nurse so I know when I am in trouble,” she said.

After calling for an ambulance, she said she waited 45 minutes for the paramedics to reach her.

She said she has had asthma attacks like this before and it has never taken that long.

“Forty-five minutes is a long time when you’re very scared, can’t hardly breathe.” 

She said the delay happened because the median opening and south access at Sturgeon Road and the Perimeter – the road needed to access her house – was cut off in September 2021.

The provincial government said the road was closed off following a safety review on the Perimeter Highway and the closure was meant to eliminate dangerous turns.

Dureault-Mohr said at one point her husband had to go flag down the ambulance and leave her inside.

“They passed right by. They couldn’t get an access back.”

Frances Smee, the reeve of the RM of Rosser, said she wants to see a solution to the problem quickly.

“This is something we have been dreading,” said Smee.

She added the one turnaround point being added back doesn’t help the stretch between Highway 6 and 7.

“To get from the Perimeter to the south access road, the only way you can get on that is to go to Route 90, turn south, go down a mile and go back around.”

Shared Health told CTV News that there was a delay during a call from the same area, during the same time as Dureault-Mohr’s emergency, but it couldn’t speak to the specific case.

“We believe a lack of familiarity with the area resulted in some wayfinding challenges for the responding crews. However, those were unrelated to the Perimeter Highway access,” Shared Health said in a statement.

Dureault-Mohr said if the access was still at Sturgeon Road, the ambulance would have arrived sooner.

“Scares like this are going to happen more often. It’s time they listen to us,” she said.

The province said Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure has met with the RM of Rosser on the issue and following a discussion, an emergency vehicle turnaround was added on the Perimeter between King Edward and Ritchie Street.

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