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Nurse complained about ER layout, Sinclair inquest told

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A Health Sciences Centre nurse testified today she believed patients would die in the hospital's  emergency room because of the new layout in 2007.

Nurse Jan Kozubal admitted she had told an administrative review, looking into the circumstances of Brian Sinclair's death, that she had said this to a doctor when she complained about the layout of the emergency room staff moved into in 2007.

Under questioning by Sinclair family lawyer Murray Trachtenberg today, Kozubal said she and others were upset about the layout. The inquest has heard staff were upset how far away the waiting room was from the triage desk and that the chairs were turned away from them towards a television.

"You recall telling (the doctor) people will die in that emergency department waiting room?" Trachtenberg asked to which Kozubal replied "I don't recall those exact words but I expressed concern." When told she later told an administrative review she had said this, Kozubal agreed she did.

Kozubal, who was one of two triage nurses working on Sept. 19, 2008, when the 45-year-old Sinclair, a double amputee in a wheelchair, was dropped off there by a taxi driver, said she doesn't recall seeing the man or seeing his name on the list of waiting patients there.

Sinclair was found dead after 34 hours of sitting in the waiting room.

The inquest has been told Sinclair had a blocked urinary catheter and died of a treatable bladder infection.

Sinclair may have been dead up to seven hours before he was rushed from the waiting room into the treatment area because rigor mortis was setting in.

Meanwhile, unless Sinclair lawyers are able to convince provincial court Judge Tim Preston this afternoon that two triage nurses working Sept. 20, 2008, should also be called to testify, Kozubal was the last witness for the first half of the inquest.

Phase two of the inquest, which will start in late February, is expected to look into issues of backlogs and waiting times at emergency rooms across the city.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

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