Hospital looking into case of 14-year-old patient who sought care

HALIFAX — A children’s hospital in Halifax says it is reviewing the case of a 14-year-old girl who sought care there, but whose mother says was turned away only to be admitted after police returned her to the facility hours later.

A spokesman for the IWK Health Centre said Wednesday that it couldn’t comment on the specific matter, but that the hospital was looking into what happened and would see if there are procedures that should be changed.

“We continually review and look at policy and procedures to ensure we are providing the best care,” Nick Cox said in an interview.

“The situation this week is another opportunity to pause and see how things work and see if there are any changes to be made.”

Provincial Health Minister Leo Glavine said in an email that he was concerned the girl’s family was disappointed with the care that they received, but that it appeared staff at the hospital followed proper procedures.

He said his staff looked into the issue and “we are satisfied that appropriate process was followed. I’m confident that the IWK will address any concerns or issues stemming from this matter.”

Vicky Morinville says her adopted daughter was taken to the children’s hospital by ambulance after she became highly agitated and aggressive at their home Sunday morning.

Morinville says the young teen has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and had been eating and sleeping less over the last month, as well as becoming more impulsive, aggressive and difficult to manage.

She says that culminated with a discussion with the mobile mental health line and then a call from the young girl to a non-emergency police line, in which she said she was hurting her mother.

Police went to the house and an ambulance was called to take her to the emergency department, where Morinville said she was put in a secure room and seen by a psychiatric resident.

She says she told staff she wanted her daughter to be admitted and thoroughly assessed.

“They felt it was just a continuation of her usual behaviours and that she would not be admitted, that she wasn’t considered a danger to herself or anyone else,” Morinville said adding that her daughter has an IQ of just 52.

“This was a child who had been combative towards security, towards the police and towards the paramedics.”

Morinville says she left with her daughter, but that she became aggressive in the parking lot and began assaulting her mother. Police arrived, arrested her and took her to the station.

Morinville said the girl was taken back to the hospital at about 10 p.m. after officers saw her hurting her head in the area where she was being held.

Const. Pierre Bourdages of the Halifax police would only say that she was becoming a danger to herself and was arrested under the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act, which allows someone to be held until they’re seen by a doctor.

The girl was admitted at the IWK and Morinville said she remained in hospital Wednesday, and was receiving good care.

 “This is something I would have liked to have happen without all this drama,” Morinville said. “This should not have happened for her to receive the care because at this point, she’s receiving amazing care.”

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Alison Auld, The Canadian Press

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