February 10, 2009

Statement from the WRHA Board of Directors Regarding the Death of Brian Sinclair

The WRHA Board of Directors is releasing the following statement in response to recent questions about the Brian Sinclair inquest.

First, we want to again say that the WRHA accepts full responsibility for this tragedy. In no way was Mr. Sinclair to blame for his death. This was our fault and we are sorry.

We also want the public to know that we take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe and quality care to our patients. In Mr. Sinclair’s case, we failed.

Today a number of issues were considered:

  • Whether there have been sufficient improvements to our Emergency Departments in order to reduce the possibility of such a tragedy recurring;

  • Whether the Administrative Review into the death, be publicly released; and

  • Were any statements, made publicly, deliberately misleading.

The Board reviewed the changes made at our different Emergency Departments, from the new wristband policy, to the addition of more reassessment nurses, the reconfiguration of the triage/registration desks and even the new Emergency Department signage. We are satisfied that the appropriate steps have been taken to protect the public, but will continue to monitor the situation and ensure any necessary additional changes are also made.

With regards to the Administrative Review, the Board considered a number of issues including: the public’s right to know, the right of the individuals’ involved to be able to tell their story in an open and fair forum, as well the importance of the Region respecting the Inquest process. In addition, we considered very carefully a request from the Minister of Health that the Review be released.

Because of the serious nature of this issue and the complexity of issues surrounding it, the Board sought an external legal opinion, which concluded that the report should not be released outside of the Inquest process. We do not want to jeopardize the ability of the courts to hold a full and impartial hearing into this issue.

We have informed the Minister of our decision and she has told us she accepts and respects it.

With regards to the issue of whether or not any comments made by members of the WRHA Senior Management team were deliberately misleading. We acknowledge Dr. Brock Wright mis-spoke during a media event last week. We also acknowledge that as soon as he became aware of that fact, he immediately issued a statement clarifying his position and that he in no way intended to misinform the media and the public.

The Board of Directors wants to make it abundantly clear that we have the utmost confidence in the leadership of both Dr. Brian Postl and Dr. Brock Wright. They are both skilled physicians who for years have served the WRHA and the public with dedication, skill and compassion. We are fortunate to have such leadership in the region.

For more information please contact:
Heidi Graham
Director, Media Relations
Tele: (204) 926-7178
Cell: (204) 223-9089

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