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Critical incident reviews launched after 2 patients sent home from hospital in cabs die
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has launched critical incident reviews after two men discharged from Grace Hospital and sent home in cabs collapsed outside their residences and died.
David Silver, 78, went to Grace Hospital at the end of December. Relatives said he waited hours before doctors told him he had gallstones and kidney stones and was sent home in a cab early Dec. 31.
He never made it inside the home and collapsed on the doorstep and later died, said his family. Medical officials said he died of a heart attack.
Miles Pollock said his mother is having a hard time coping with the sudden death of her brother, David Silver.
“She's broken up about this and the circumstances of his death makes it even worse for her in particular," said Pollock.
Silver’s family questions why he was released from Grace Hospital and sent home in a cab around 1 a.m. on Dec. 31 when it was frigid out, feeling like -37.
"I think there were lots of alternatives that would be safer, more responsible ways patients that are at risk in any way,” said Pollock.
The WRHA confirmed a critical incident review is underway into Silver’s death. The WRHA also confirmed some details of the death of another man who died two days before Silver.
Neighbours and passersby found the man’s body in Wolseley on Dec. 29.
Shawn Zemla lives nearby and ran outside after seeing a woman trying to revive a man on the sidewalk in front of his house. The man was unresponsive.
Paramedics responded and took the man to hospital, but he died.
The WRHA confirmed he too had been previously released from Grace Hospital and sent home in a cab.
"The decision to discharge patients from our facilities is a clinic decision based upon the best medical assessment and judgment," said Arlene Wilgosh from the WRHA.
The WRHA said there are about 80,000 people released from emergency rooms every year and each case is different for how they’re released, including some patients home in cabs.
The WRHA said its "safe discharge guidelines” are being reviewed and will be part of an investigation into the two men’s deaths.
Manitoba's health minister said the province wants cab drivers made responsible for ensuring that people discharged from hospital and sent home in a taxi make it in the door safely.
She said the province first learned of the December deaths over this past weekend.
The policy for releasing patients from hospital by taxi was changed once before, after the death of Heather Brenan, 68. Brenan collapsed after being sent home from Seven Oaks General Hospital in January 2012. She was brought back to hospital, where she later died.
Friday, Selby said the province will change the policy again.
"I think it's clear that when a patient is discharged from a hospital and returned by taxi that should include knowing that patient gets through the front door safely. My office is working with the WRHA and other RHAs across the province to ensure this becomes mandatory,” she said.
Manitoba Health is drafting the protocol but the health minister couldn't say when it will go into effect.
She said, so far, the health department hasn't met with the taxicab board.
The taxicab board didn't return CTV News’ calls the afternoon of Jan. 10.