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Inquest into death of Brian Sinclair to begin next year

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The provincial inquest into the 2008 death of Brian Sinclair is to begin next August.

The timing of the start of the long-awaited inquest was picked today at a meeting of Provincial Court Judge Tim Preston and lawyers representing Sinclair's family and the eight parties that have legal standing.

The inquest was called in February 2009.

Sinclair, a 45-year-old double amputee, was found dead in his wheelchair at Health Sciences Centre's emergency waiting room on Sept. 21, 2008. He died of a treatable bladder infection, caused by a blocked catheter, after waiting 34 hours for care.

Manitoba's chief medical examiner, Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra, has said Sinclair's death could have been prevented if the infection had been treated. Hospital security video showed Sinclair at the ER triage desk speaking to an aide before wheeling himself into the waiting room.

The inquest is to examine the Sinclair case and emergency room procedures.

The start of the inquest was delayed because of a police investigation into possible charges in connection with Sinclair's death.

In July, Winnipeg police and the Crown said no criminal charges would be laid against any health-care worker who dealt with Sinclair during those 34 hours. Police did not release any details of their investigation but said the information will become clear during the inquest.

The family has filed a $1.6-million lawsuit in relation to Sinclair's death and has argued the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the province violated Sinclair's charter rights and allowed the ER to operate even though it constituted a public nuisance to vulnerable, aboriginal patients.

Court of Queen's Bench master Shayne Berthaudin said in March the family doesn't have a case to make and that it can't proceed.

The health authority has paid Sinclair's family $110,000 on a portion of their lawsuit dealing with the wrongful death.

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