The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

February 9, 2010

Family deserves more money for lawyer for ER death – so do we all


Canadian Press WINNIPEG – A judge has ruled that the Manitoba government has a moral obligation to pay for an experienced lawyer for the family of a homeless man who died after a 34-hour wait in a hospital emergency room.  Justice Ray Wyant says Brian Sinclair’s relatives deserve to have well-paid legal representation at an upcoming inquest into Sinclair’s death.  Wyant’s decision isn’t binding on the government.  The province had offered a maximum of $40,000 for a legal-aid lawyer for the inquest, which is expected to last several months. But Sinclair’s family said that put them at a disadvantage against a team of high-paid government and hospital lawyers, who are all being paid an average of about $210 an hour, with no limit.  “In this case, the legal-aid rate is not appropriate,” Wyant said in his ruling Tuesday.  “It is unfair in my opinion, and impossible to justify, how public funds pay lawyers from government or quasi-government institutions at one rate, but the Sinclair family, who are not at this inquest because they want to be but rather are here because of what happened to Brian Sinclair, are treated at a different level.  “It doesn’t make sense, nor does it pass the litmus test of fairness.”  Sinclair – a 45-year-old double amputee and frequent emergency room user – died of a preventable bladder infection more than a year ago while he was waiting in the emergency room at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre.  The inquest into his death is scheduled to start early this year. It’s expected to touch on a number of issues at the heart of Canadian health care. It must also determine why Sinclair died and what can be done to prevent similar deaths. One lawyer paid at $210 an hour should be sufficient to properly represent the family, Wyant suggested.  But he urged the government “in the strongest possible terms” to adopt the recommendations of an earlier inquest and set a policy for funding families in the future. That would establish “clear ground rules” and ensure “this situation will never be repeated.”  “Such a policy would avoid the appearance or suggestion that decisions on funding are arbitrary, unfair or discriminatory.”  Provincial lawyers declined to comment immediately following the ruling. But lawyers who argued for the Sinclairs hailed the judge’s decision as a vindication. Vilko Zbogar said the judge backed their argument that the provincial funding offer was seriously inadequate. “The proper thing is for all counsel who are funded by the public purse in this case to be paid equally,” Zbogar said. “What the family hopes is that the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the government of Manitoba will do the honourable thing and abide by this judge’s ruling and recommendations. The integrity of the inquest depends on it.”  Sinclair arrived at the emergency room Sept. 19 after being referred there by another physician. Security tape footage, disclosed by the province’s medical examiner, showed he went to the triage desk and spoke to an aide before wheeling himself into the waiting room.  Some 33 hours later, someone in the waiting room approached a security guard saying they believed Sinclair was dead.  He was rushed into the treatment area where emergency staff tried unsuccessfully to revive him.
The Hospital and their administrators should be fully now sued for a wrongful death, manslaughter.
(CBC) – Prince Edward Island is one of the worst places in Canada to have a heart attack, research out of the University of Calgary shows.  The study found most Canadians are within an hour’s travel of a facility where an angioplasty can be performed. The nearest centres for people on P.E.I. are in Saint John, N.B., and Halifax more than three hours away. “New Brunswick was talking about the possibility of a facility in Moncton, but there were some very good reasons that went into the current setup,” said study author Dr. William Ghali. “They wanted to concentrate the expertise and the resources in one centre so that they could have a well-oiled machine in Saint John.” An angioplasty is a complex procedure in which surgeons thread a wire through a blocked artery, a balloon is inflated within the blood vessel and a stent a small tube is installed to keep it open. This requires not only skilled doctors but specialized equipment. Ideally, patients should get to a facility where the procedure can be performed within an hour of the first symptoms.  
 I trust the smart PEI government has already now purchased a standby emergency ambulance helicopter to take heart attack patients to the Hospitals elsewhere or they too can prepare for their lawsuits for  early deaths next too.. and why not? after all everyone pays taxes and deserves in reality equal access to medicare by law.. get ready for the much deserved lawsuits, Canada wide now too.


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