Winnipeg woman sent home in cab had trouble breathing in hospital: nurse

WINNIPEG, Alta. — A woman who died hours after being sent home in a cab from a Winnipeg hospital was too ill to undergo testing the day she was released.

A nurse who escorted Heather Brenan to another hospital for an endoscopy told an inquest that the test was called off because Brenan had trouble breathing.

Arvadell Egesz testified she never saw Brenan stand on her own for the seven hours she was with her in January 2012.

Another nurse, Claudine Knockaert, said it was expected Brenan would be discharged once the endoscopy was done.

Hours later, Brenan was sent home by taxi — without her house keys and in the middle of the night — only to collapse on her doorstep.

The 68-year-old was rushed back to Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks Hospital where she died.

Months later, two other patients were sent home in taxis from a different hospital and died outside their homes.

Brenan had been in the emergency department for three days because she had lost 40 pounds and couldn’t swallow. She died when an undetected blood clot moved to her lungs.

The inquest was called to look into Brenan’s death and to “examine hospital policy regarding the discharge of patients at night, particularly those who are elderly, frail, and who reside alone.”

It is scheduled to sit until mid-June and also is to determine whether a shortage of acute-care beds might have been a factor in Brenan’s death.

The Canadian Press