Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dead girl's family accepts apology from WRHA

  • Print

The parents of 10-year-old Ashuza Halisi have accepted an apology from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority for the death of their daughter, and have asked for privacy while they move on with their lives.

Ephemie Nyelele and Willy Halisi had demanded the apology and a clear explanation why their daughter died.

Ashuza died after receiving day surgery March 11 at the Maples Surgical Centre, where their family doctor and Health Sciences Centre referred them.

Nyelele and Halisi said in a written statement they met Thursday with the WRHA, the Maples Surgical Centre and the surgeon who operated on their daughter. They received a formal written and verbal apology.

WRHA president and chief executive officer Arlene Wilgosh told Halisi and Nyelele in a letter made public Thursday that while it is still not known how the perforation occurred that resulted in the girl's death, the chief medical officer's investigation found that "an accidental surgical complication is the only logical cause."

Wilgosh said the WRHA acknowledges the findings that a surgical accident occurred.

Had any member of the surgical team known Ashuza's bowel had been damaged, she would not have been discharged, Wilgosh said.

She expressed heartfelt condolences and said the WRHA is truly sorry.

"We hope you will find some solace from the fact that we are striving to learn from your experiences and will continue to share your story with our staff as an example of the importance of reaching out to families with timely, appropriate and sensitive communications following such a tragedy," Wilgosh said.

Manitoba's chief medical examiner has called for an expert review, rather than an inquest, and ruled her death accidental.

The instructions Nyelele received following surgery said Ashuza could go home and treat any pain with Tylenol. After a day-and-a-half at home with Ashuza in terrible pain, Nyelele found Ashuza panting with cold legs and feet.

Though Nyelele called 911, tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation and watched the paramedics try CPR, it was too late for young Ashuza. She died in the early hours of March 13.

Halisi and his wife were first told Ashuza's death was caused by an infection she had before surgery. But when they met with chief medical examiner Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra late last month, they learned Ashuza's death was the result of an accident during surgery.

Wilgosh said the WRHA has started an internal review and is seeking a review of the death from an outside expert.

The WRHA has instructed its staff to follow up with patients' families within 24 hours of surgery.

Wilgosh acknowledged the parents' sense of loss was compounded by "the interactions you had with the 'system' as you struggled to deal with your grief."

"We know that in offering this apology, there is nothing that we can say today that can take away the pain that you have already suffered," Wilgosh said.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2013 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trouba talks about injury and potential for Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google