Infant girl dies in remote First Nations community despite visits to nursing station

A little over two month ago, Drianna Ross was born.

By Tiar Wilson
APTN National News
A little over two month ago, Drianna Ross was born.

Now, her parents are going to bury her.

“This little girl was full of laughter smiles,” said her father Paul Ross. “She was daddy’s girl. That’s my little.”

She’d be alive if only little Drianna would have received proper health care, Ross said.

The parents live in God’s Lake Narrows, about 500 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

Ross said they took her to the health station twice and were sent back home with Tylenol.  It wasn’t until their third visit that the little girl was sent southThompson, Man.,  and she would eventually die of pneumonia.

“We called there a bunch of times, they just kept sending us home with Tylenol,” he said.

Now First Nations leaders are calling on the province to launch a public inquest into Drianna’s death and they want the federal government to call a public inquiry into First Nations health in remote communities.

If the government’s don’t respond, they’ll launch court action.

“If there is no public inquiry then we have to go to the courts to get these answers and to sue the government of Canada,” said Keewatinowi Okimakana Grand Chief David Harper. “And sue the physician services that are being sent to our communities. We have to get these services looked at.”

In the neighbouring community of Manto Sipi in January a 27 year-old named Kirby Wood went to a nursing station complaining of stomach pain only to be sent home with Tylenol. Less than 24 hours later, he was dead.

“How many people have to die before they take more action?” said Erma Hastings, Drianna’s mother. “Like, my baby girl didn’t even have proper care.”

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Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.