Press Releases

Monday, May 11, 2015

Statement from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on the inquest into the death of Ms. Heather Brenan

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority together with Seven Oaks Hospital is participating and cooperating fully with the Inquest looking into the death of Ms. Heather Brenan.

As a health system, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is responsible for ensuring patient discharges are safe and appropriate. This is an important part of providing safe, high quality care to our patients, and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is looking forward to what improvements the Inquest might recommend so that it can further improve its processes and the quality and safety of the care provided.

Following the death of Ms. Brenan, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority introduced regional discharge guidelines for emergency departments. The introduction of such guidelines on a regional basis was new following the death of Ms. Brenan.

Prior to these changes, some hospitals had guidelines while others did not, and there was inconsistency and variation across hospital sites. The introduction of regional guidelines allowed for greater focus on safe discharge planning and greater consistency in the discharge process. 

Following Ms. Brenan’s death in 2012, two patients discharged from Grace Hospital’s emergency department in December 2013 died very suddenly upon arriving home in a taxicab.

Following two critical incident reviews into these deaths, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority developed and implemented an emergency department discharge checklist, and revised patient transportation guidelines.

The emergency department checklist reinforces the need to ensure patients are able to manage safely when they return home, that assistance or plans for follow-up care have been put in place, and that patients understand what to do if their condition changes following discharge. Transportation home in a taxi following discharge was also strengthened. Working together with taxicab companies, a unique taxi voucher has been implemented that includes specific instructions for drivers when patients are being discharged from emergency departments and transported home in a taxicab.

For more information contact:

Felicia Wiltshire

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The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
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