Health Care

Manitoba family moving to BC for better health care

A Winnipeg family frustrated over the state of health care in Manitoba is moving to BC in search of better care.

The family’s journey in the health care system started when 56-year-old Devina Gracia Perez needed brain surgery last May. A high risk for the surgery, she had a stroke partially paralyzing her left side and right eye.

A few days later, she was sent from the Health Sciences Center (HSC) to Concordia Hospital for rehab.

Her husband, Donald Perez, wasn’t allowed to be with her due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the hospital but said he noticed she was confused on the phone and moved differently.

“I told them something was wrong. I started crying, ‘please help my wife,'” said Perez.

Perez said his wife’s care team assured him Devina was okay. Days later, she was sent back to HSC, where they found she had had another stroke.

“They don’t listen to the people,” said Perez. “I know my wife is better because I’ve been married for so long.”

The stroke left Devina paralyzed and unable to speak. Wanting to help his wife, Donald left his job to take care of her in the hospital.

Three months in, he noticed Devina was bleeding. Perez said doctors told him the blood was from her uterus. They blocked an artery and gave her clotting medication to help.

The bleeding started again in late December.

Perez took his wife to the HSC emergency department, but after four hours of waiting, he said they went home.

Once home, Perez noticed the amount of blood Devina had lost and called paramedics who took her to Seven Oaks Hospital.

Perez said some tests were done, and they were sent to the waiting room.

“Eleven hours my wife is in the wheelchair,” he said. “Eleven hours, my wife is in a wheelchair soaked in blood and pee, and she is already crying.”

Perez said he asked how much longer it would be and was told there were still 11 people ahead of him, prompting the pair to go home.

A day later, the couple went back to HSC on the advice of Devina’s family doctor.

Donald said they were sent back home, only for Donald to call 911 again on Sunday to take his HSC women’s hospital, where she remains.

He said Devina’s specialist is away until Jan. 25, meaning her care team can only give a temporary medication to help until the doctor returns.

“My wife doesn’t deserve this, because my wife is a hard worker. She paid her dues, her taxes. Why did she get treated like this? She needs treatment. I don’t understand this,” said Perez.


Fed up with the system, Perez is planning to take Devina to BC in hopes of receiving better care and seeing another specialist sooner.

“It’s a big city,” he said. “I’m hoping they have enough doctors.”

Perez said he has plane tickets for Sunday, but he said he is element the airline will let his wife fly.

“If we cannot fly, maybe the last thing I have to do is rent a car or a van,” added Perez. “I’m going to take a risk. Better than waiting until you die in an emergency.”

Perez said he plans to stay at a friend’s house in Vancouver who also cares for people living with disabilities.


In a joint statement to CTV News, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Shared Health, which runs HSC, said it takes issues related to the care of patients very seriously.

“We are committed to providing compassionate and high-quality services to everyone who comes to us for care,” read part of the emailed statement.

The statement said they could not comment on specific cases due to privacy laws but recommended concerned patients contact patient services.

CTV News has also reached out to the Manitoba Health Minister’s office but did not hear back.