Update on homeless death in Winnipeg ER after 34 hour wait

There’s been disturbing news this week about Brian Sinclair, 45, the homeless man who died in a Winnipeg hospital emergency room after a 34 hour wait. According to news reports from the Sun, “a video has been released that suggests the man was triaged by ER staff after entering the ER”.

Although the medical examiner for Winnipeg is conducting a full inquest which is not yet completed, this news refutes earlier claims by staff that Sinclair did not sign in to the ER, that he was simply a homeless person who came into the ER to seek shelter.

As posted here in the missionlog last September – “the man.. was discovered to have been dead several hours when ER staff finally checked on him. He was in the ER a total of 34 hours without being attended to by any hospital staff. It was another member of the public waiting who finally brought him to the attention of staff. A spokesperson for the hospital said some homeless people have made it a habit recently to seek shelter in the ER waiting room… ”  They claimed at the time, ” the double amputee  was ‘a regular’ at the emergency room.  Regional health officials say he was never registered or seen by triage nurses over the weekend until it was too late”.
As a matter of fact, one of our homeless friends here in Toronto is also a recent double amputee and he directly attributes the complications that gave rise to the infection and amputations to discrimination at the hand of Toronto health care providers over a period of more than a year. Check back to the missionlog here for more updates on the inquest into Brian Sinclair’s death.

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Homeless Man found Dead in ER After 34 Hours Waiting

Source – healthandfitness.sympatico.msn – A homeless man who went to a Winnepeg area hospital Emergency Room was discovered to have been dead several hours when ER staff finally checked on him. He was in the ER a total of 34 hours without being attended to by any hospital staff. It was another member of the public waiting who finally brought him to the attention of staff. A spokesperson for the hospital said some homeless people have made it a habit recently to seek shelter in the ER waiting room, but that was no reason for staff not to have attended to him at some point during his stay.[end of excerpt]

Canadian Press reports “Although the 45-year-old man — who CTV Winnipeg identified as a double amputee named Brian Sinclair — was “a regular” at the emergency room, regional health officials say he was never registered or seen by triage nurses over the weekend until it was too late.

We have said for many years that the homeless have difficulties when seeking hospital treatment and that many hospital staff refuse to deal with them, or belittle them when listening to complaints. As a matter of fact, one of our homeless friends here in Toronto is also a recent double amputee and he directly attributes the complications that gave rise to the infection and amputations to discrimination at the hand of Toronto health care providers over a period of more than a year. But this is terrible – even if Mr. Sinclair was only seeking to come in from the cold in the ER waiting room, there must be standards in hospital ER’s for screening visitors. Even if it were to be security staff, at some point during the 34 hours, this person deserved to be at least acknowedged. Reading between the lines of the news report – it even shows the attitude of the general public towards the homeless. The man must have lost consciousness at some point prior to his death – even a sleeping person could be expected to be a cause of concern to neighbouring people sharing the waiting room. But most people’s attitude towards the homeless is to treat them as if they were invisible and shun them. It is not only India that has the “untouchable” caste. I imagine this poor man died of loneliness … in a crowded room.

Please look for updates on this post when I return from the Houston Hurricane Ike disaster relief mission in two weeks. Please post your comments on this tragedy.

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