Family of woman found dead on ER floor asks Quebec coroner to reopen investigation

MONTREAL — The family of an 86-year-old woman who was found dead on the floor of a Montreal-area emergency room last year is calling for a new investigation into the circumstances of her death following the release of a coroner’s report.

MONTREAL — The family of an 86-year-old woman who was found dead on the floor of a Montreal-area emergency room last year is calling for a new investigation into the circumstances of her death following the release of a coroner’s report.

Emmanuel Macarine and his sister Gilda told a news conference Tuesday that a new investigation is needed from the coroner’s office because the report released last month raised unanswered questions and omitted crucial evidence.

They also believe that racial discrimination and negligence might have played a role in the death of Candida Macarine, who was of Filipino origin.

The family says handwritten notes from doctors at Lakeshore General Hospital in the suburb of Pointe-Claire indicated Macarine spoke neither English nor French, but in fact she did speak English but did not have her hearing aids.

“This raises the question as to how you communicated with her during her five-hour stay at the hospital and how they treated her,” Emmanuel Macarine said. “Why describe her like this? Because she talks to you as a Filipino. This raises more questions about racial discrimination in hospital emergencies.”

Medical records also show Macarine was supposed to receive medical checks every 15 minutes, but about 30 minutes passed before hospital staff found her dead on the floor in February 2021.

“The record we obtained from the coroner’s office leads us to believe that she was left unchecked and unattended for a long time, even after she fell to the floor,” Emmanuel Macarine said.

He questions why his mother was not transferred to intensive care after a blood test showed elevated risk of cardiac arrest.

“The coroner said nothing about the blood gas test results that were made available at 10:46 pm and that showed a critically high level of acidity in her blood. She also said nothing about our mother being on a cardiac monitor,” he said.

In her Sept. 14 report, coroner Amélie Lavigne concluded Macarine died of natural causes and found no evidence of negligence on the part of hospital personnel.

The report also indicated that Macarine was kept in preventive isolation because of COVID-19, far away from the nurse’s station despite her serious condition and having tested negative for the virus early on during her admission.

“The coroner says nothing about the obvious absence of nursing staff during the final 30 minutes of our mother’s life. Where were they?” Emmanuel Macarine asked.

In the report, Lavigne made a recommendation to put in place a rigorous system to alert hospital personnel of a medical emergency after she determined that although alarms were in place to monitor the patient’s medical state, hospital staff did not hear or notice them.

Jake Lamotta-Granato, a spokesperson for the coroner’s office, said the chief coroner would rigorously analyze any request from the family as soon as possible.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Marisela Amador, The Canadian Press

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