The family of a Cantley, Que., man who died at the Gatineau Hospital in 2015 is suing the institution.
A coroner’s report concluded Marc-André Maxwell’s death in December 2015 was accidental, but also detailed a series of miscommunications and delayed responses that contributed to the circumstances surrounding his death.
“This patient was not supposed to die,” said Jean-Pierre Ménard, a medical malpractice lawyer who’s representing Maxwell’s widow and two children. “Unfortunately, he died because he was not properly monitored. But he has no serious illness that could impair his life.”
Ménard said the family will be suing for “moral damages” as well as the loss of financial support.
“The impact was devastating because this man was only 50 years old, he [had] his own business,” Ménard said. “He was having a good life. And since that happened the business is not going well. The family is really in despair about what is in front of them. They try to recover, but it’s tough.”
The lawyer said civil suit will rely heavily on the coroner’s report.
‘Fell through the cracks’
Maxwell died on the morning of Dec. 28, of complications from cardiac arrest. He was hospitalized more than a week earlier after a fall in the basement of the family’s home.
He was moved into the intensive care unit when he began showing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. His vital signs were supposed to have been monitored closely, but the report suggests that didn’t happen.
Coroner Pascale Boulay concluded Maxwell “fell through the cracks.”
“This is a death that could have been avoided with better vigilance,” Boulay told CBC News. “The information was there, it’s just that there was what appears to be really a lack of sharing the information.”
‘He was already blue’
After he went into cardiac arrest, it took 10 minutes for a team to attempt to revive him, the coroner said.
“He was already blue and he already had no [heart]beat,” Boulay said. “That delay is crucial because we know when there is a cardiac arrest you need to intervene immediately to revive the individual.”
Boulay said her investigation showed the ward aid had no training in how to detect signs of cardiac arrest.
The report said Maxwell had no history of cardiac illness and was generally in good health before his admission to hospital.
Gail Ryan, director of…