Long wait for medical care likely played role in death of Atikamekw baby, Quebec coroner finds


A coroner’s report trying into the death of a seven-month-old child from the Atikamekw group of Manawan, Que., says important delays in receiving medical care likely played a role in the woman’s death, as it took a number of hours to move the kid to a pediatric hospital. 

The child woman died April 4 on the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal, from issues of meningitis and COVID-19, after first being recognized on the group’s well being centre as having a fever from teething. 

When her dad and mom sought emergency care after her situation worsened, the report says it took a complete of eight and a half hours from the preliminary name for an ambulance to move her to Sainte-Justine’s.

Coroner Géhane Kamel says the kid died of “bacterial meningitis following emergency care obtained too late.”

Kamel made three suggestions, together with implementing medical evacuation providers by helicopter for sufferers in vital situation in distant areas. 

This advice was made by one other coroner 13 years in the past following the death of a little bit woman in the identical Atikamekw group, positioned 250 kilometres north of Montreal, in the province’s Lanaudière area.

A protracted wait

On April 2, after the dad and mom spent two days of treating the seven-month-old’s fever with acetaminophen, she went into convulsions and was taken to the Centre de Santé Masko-Siwin de Manawan. 

After seeing her, the nurse referred to as for an ambulance because the baby was affected by “febrile seizures with respiratory difficulties,” in response to the report.

The preliminary name was made for Manawan’s solely ambulance at round 9 p.m., however the car was not obtainable. The report says the crew was overwhelmed and couldn’t reply to the decision. The head of operations for the Manawan space “didn’t talk this break in service,” the report says. 

Another name was instantly made for an ambulance from Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Que., 90 kilometres away.

Despite the urgency of the scenario, the ambulance set out practically six minutes after the decision was positioned and took an hour and 48 minutes to reach on the Atikamekw group’s well being centre. It left half an hour later with the child and her mom for the closest hospital, the Centre hospitalier régional de Lanaudiére. 

Quebec Coroner Géhane Kamel says it appears extremely likely that the lengthy wait to obtain care had an affect on the kid’s survival. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The child arrived on the hospital at 2:30 a.m. — 5 and a half hours after the preliminary name. Considering her precarious medical scenario, a request was made 48 minutes later to move her to the CHU Sainte-Justine, the place the child arrived at 5:32 a.m. — greater than eight and a half hours after the preliminary name.

“In this context, and given the preliminary medical evaluation, it appears extremely likely to me that delays of this magnitude had an affect on the kid’s survival,” concluded Kamel.

‘We haven’t modified,’ says chief

The situation of ambulance delays and medical transfers from Manawan have been studied earlier than.

After a toddler, who was additionally transferred from Saint-Michel-des-Saints to Montreal, died of drowning in 2009, a coroner really helpful discovering methods to scale back wait instances for ambulances, together with the chance of establishing medevac providers for sufferers in vital situation in distant areas. 

“I can solely agree together with his issues,” stated Kamel. 

While non-public medical helicopter providers exist, ​Quebec is one of the one provinces in Canada with out an organized, pre-hospital emergency air ambulance system.

Sipi Flamand, the chief of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan, says the child shouldn’t have died and a advice which may have saved her ought to have already been in place. (Submitted by Sipi Flamand)

Sipi Flamand, the chief of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan, says it is unacceptable that Kamel has needed to restate the advice about bettering medical transfers. 

“Knowing what occurred in 2009, but additionally in 1998, now we have not modified. Both on the degree of Quebec and of the group, which stays underfunded to fulfill its wants,” stated Flamand in response to the report. 

“It’s surprising and unhappy,” he stated. “Cases like this child shouldn’t have occurred.”

In 1998, one other Quebec coroner regarded into the respiratory failure of a 24-year-old man and dominated that if Manawan “was higher outfitted with treatment [and] ambulance transport, and if the personnel have been educated in the usual advised by the regional board, it’s likely that [the man] would nonetheless be alive at the moment.

In the seven-month-old’s case, Kamel believes the scenario ought to “undoubtedly have required an preliminary evaluation, which might have favoured transportation apart from land.”

Out-of-the-box options

Kamel is recommending that the Health Ministry undertake a venture as quickly as potential to revamp pre-hospital emergency providers, together with helicopter transport, in order that sufferers in vital situation in distant areas can profit from these providers in the close to future. 

According to the coroner, the ministry is presently engaged on it.

For its half, Manawan started discussions with a personal helicopter air ambulance firm referred to as Airmedic in May to have a heliport and supply medical transport providers. 

Flamand factors out that he testified on the Viens Commission, a public inquiry into relations between Indigenous peoples and sure public providers in Quebec, in regards to the want for Manawan to have multiple ambulance. At the time, the group had none. 

He thinks three can be higher, plus the helipad.

Kamel can also be recommending that the Manawan well being centre make sure that the scientific evaluation of a affected person takes under consideration their precedence degree and that the fitting means of transportation is used to scale back switch instances when obligatory.

“We should assessment practices, particularly when the well being of a baby is at stake,” stated Flamand.

The coroner says the province additionally must discover out-of-the-box options.

One space that should be explored, she stated, is the creation of a pre-hospital care unit particularly for First Nations sufferers, much like what number of of their communities have a devoted police unit. She says the Ministry of Higher Education ought to consider this chance and discover methods to deal with labour shortages in distant areas.

Flamand says these three suggestions can realistically be carried out, nevertheless it takes participation from the federal government. 


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