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Death of woman waiting in Kamloops ER being reviewed: health minister

Last Updated Sep 9, 2021 at 9:36 pm PDT

The Royal Inland Hospital Clinical Services Building in Kamloops. B.C. (Image Credit: Chad Harris / CityNews)

Adrian Dix says the province has received 'a number of inquiries' about the death of a woman at Royal Inland Hospital

A review of the woman's case was triggered automatically, Dix acknowledges challenging situation in B.C. hospitals

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1130) — The death of a 70-year-old woman in Kamloops, whose daughter says she passed away while waiting hours to be treated in an overrun emergency room, was addressed by B.C.’s health minister Thursday.

Adrian Dix began an unexpected press conference by saying the province has received “a number of inquiries” about what exactly happened at Royal Inland Hospital, offering condolences to the family.

“Our hearts are with them. We know that hearts are broken when someone passes away under any circumstances. I wanted to start by making that point,” he said.

“Everyone I think understands the grief of the family involved. We can’t talk about individual cases, but we know the impact on the lives of, obviously, everyone around that person, and everyone who works in the ER, who works in a dedicated and diligent way every day.”

Dix confirmed a review will be conducted, a process that is triggered automatically in cases like this one. He also acknowledged the strain on B.C.’s healthcare system during the fourth wave of the pandemic, with steadily rising hospitalizations and patients in intensive care.

“These are very challenging times at Royal Inland, and everywhere else.”

RELATED: Unvaccinated COVID-19 patients straining B.C. hospitals, particularly in Interior

Speaking to Radio NL Wednesday, Amanda Young said her sister brought their mother to the ER around 8:30 pm. with stomach pains.

“At 2 a.m. or so, my sister said my mom kind of seemed like she checked her pulse a bit, because she was doing that because they weren’t getting in. And she said she didn’t feel a pulse, and she was looking at her and she just looked like she was not there. And so she starting yelling for help, and then they tried to resuscitate her with no success. She was already gone.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Interior Health told NEWS 1130 that they could not comment on this specific case.

“Interior Health reviews all unexpected deaths that occur in a hospital to determine what took place. We know these are very difficult situations for all those who are impacted and our thoughts are with those impacted,” they wrote in an email.

“Our priority at Royal Inland Hospital is to ensure emergency department patients are triaged and seen in a timely fashion, and that they receive care based on the urgency of their needs.”