Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Family robbed of chance to comfort dying man

Seven Oaks apologizes for not calling them

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Edward Henrickson died Sunday.

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Edward Henrickson died Sunday.

A Winnipeg man says an apology from Seven Oaks General Hospital officials doesn't ease the pain of missing his father's final lucid moments.

"It doesn't give us comfort," Michael Henrickson said Thursday. "It just makes us more frustrated."

Henrickson's father, Edward Henrickson, died Sunday after hitting his head during a bike accident. Though Edward spent nearly four hours at Seven Oaks and was alert much of the time, his wife and family were never notified. At the time, they were searching frantically for him.

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The accident happened on Airlies Street at Cathedral Avenue. Edward, a physically fit retiree thanks in part to his love of golf, was biking home after running an errand for his wife when he hit a pothole concealed by a puddle. Henrickson says witness accounts suggest Edward flew over his handlebars and landed face-first on the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet.

Paramedics rushed him to Seven Oaks, where he was seen right away. As the afternoon wore on, Edward's condition deteriorated due to a brain bleed, and he slipped into unconsciousness. Staff at Seven Oaks rushed him to Health Sciences Centre for more advanced care. By that time, his worried family was busy phoning hospitals to find him. A chance call to Seven Oaks revealed Edward was being rushed to HSC, but by the time Henrickson, his mother and other family arrived, the 77-year-old was brain-dead.

"My father was on his deathbed. We had 31/2 hours to be with him and because no one did call next of kin, we never had that opportunity," said Henrickson.

"Words fail to describe what we're going through."

Henrickson said he doesn't want anyone fired, but hopes, at the very least, the hospital will issue a stern reminder to staff to follow proper procedures and get in touch with next of kin.

Lori Lamont, vice-president and chief nursing officer at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, has been in touch with the family and says she is working to find out what occurred in the emergency room.

Typically, a patient such as Edward would be asked early whether staff can call any family members.

It's not yet clear why that wasn't done in Edward's case. Lamont said he arrived at the ER lucid and talking. Then, when his condition deteriorated, doctors and nurses were focused on trying to save him and may have assumed staff had already contacted the Henricksons earlier in the afternoon.

"This is a very tragic situation and a very distressing set of circumstances for this family," said Lamont.

The chief medical officer at Seven Oaks has also apologized, saying the hospital failed to call the family and robbed them of a chance to say goodbye.

 

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 11, 2014 B2

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