Allan Benner wrote in "Coroner investigating death of Port Colborne man", (Aug.6, 2009, St. Catharines Standard):
"The regional coroner's office is investigating the circumstances that led to the death of a 70-year-old Port Colborne man last week.
But regional supervising coroner Dr. Jack Stanborough said it's really just a routine investigation -- one of about eight per day his office is required to look into. And the investigation, he stressed, was not prompted by any extenuating circumstances or recent media attention.
"This investigation was not triggered by anything but the proper channels being initiated. It wasn't because of the media outcry or whatever. This case was actually accepted long before there was any attention brought to it by the media," he said. "This is a death that's being investigated because it should have been."
At about 10:20 a. m. on July 28, the lone Niagara ambulance serving Port Colborne at the time was involved in a collision a few blocks away from the apartment of Don Davis, who was in need of help.
As a result of that collision, a second ambulance was dispatched from Welland, and it took more than 40 minutes before the patient arrived at Welland hospital, where he later died.
Mayor Vance Badawey and People's Healthcare Coalition member Pat Scholfield have questioned whether the outcome might have been different if the patient could have been brought to the Port Colborne hospital a few blocks away. The Port Colborne hospital's emergency department was downgraded to an urgent care centre at the beginning of July.
"This is not something we're going to take lightly," Badawey said.
"We're very concerned that this death could have been preventable," Scholfield added, speaking on behalf of the coalition. "The question is, if the ambulance had been able to take this gentleman to the closest hospital -- Port Colborne hospital which is about four blocks away -- would his life have been saved if we had a functioning ER?
"We think it's a wake-up call really."
But Stanborough said the investigator looking into the incident is required to approach it with no preconceived ideas about what happened.
He said investigators "don't suppose. They don't guesstimate, and they don't make hypothetical outcomes in their reports. I discourage people from doing that because that's inappropriate."
Instead, he said the investigation, being conducted with the co-operation of the NHS, Niagara EMS and any other organizations that might have been involved, is being done to determine facts like how and why the patient died, "and to propose any changes that might prevent similar deaths in similar situations in the future."
The coroner's office is required to investigate all non-natural deaths like homicides and accidents, natural deaths that occur in long-term care homes, as well as natural deaths that have "concerns or issues" surrounding them.
Scholfield and Badawey are hoping the coroner will call a full inquest into the incident.
But Stanborough said it's far too early to determine if a full inquest into the incident will be warranted.
Badawey said the incident is a symptom of a larger problem with the delivery of hospital services in Port Colborne, "and if that (problem) is not addressed it's not maybe, it will happen again."
Meanwhile, an internal investigation by Niagara EMS is being done to determine if ambulance services in Port Colborne needs to be enhanced, said EMS deputy chief Steve VanValkenburg."
The same questions apply concerning the death of Helen Harris, who had a stroke in St. Catharines, and eventually ended up (for reasons unknown and unexplained) in a hospital in the United States.
The coroner's motto is "We speak for the dead to protect the living".
The late Helen Harris...
(see: http://rightinniagara.blogspot.com/2009/07/dont-tell-mike-dukakis-another-patient.html )
... deserves to have her voice heard now - to tell us what happened, to warn us, to show us what conditions prevailed at the time of her sudden illness that she could not find the necessary health care in Ontario, and had to be exported to Buffalo.
Helen Harris' case has 'concerns and issues' surrounding it, as does Don Davis' case. Why was Davis, for example, NOT sent to Buffalo for health care? Why do some patients end up in the States, yet others don't? And what does the Liberal health monopoly's funding model have to do with any of this - in terms of necessary facilities and trained staff being available to Niagara patients in a timely and accessible manner?
When Badawey says that the Davis incident is a symptom of a larger problem with the delivery of hospital services in Port Colborne - he is expressing the tenor of my entire Liberal health care duplicity series of posts; but I believe that the problem is larger than Port Colborne - it is a systemic Ontario Liberal health care problem; Port Colborne is but one victim of the fallout of failed Liberal single-payer monopolist health-care ideology.
McGuinty's Liberals have deemed, for whatever secretive, calculated, expedient political reason, that Port Colborne can take the brunt of whatever medical-thresh-hold of risk that the Liberals have decided, in their monopolist, no-patient-choice wisdom, to mete out.
Maybe the Liberals have already factored the proximity of the States into their health care policy, and are counting on buying access to the American health-care system (the U.S.-system which Liberal hacks such as MPP Jim Bradley love to deride) to cover the Liberal's health care cuts and underfunding.
Of course, secretive Liberals such as MPP Jim Bradley will not answer any questions regarding these matters. Jim's personally building a new super hospital in St. Catharines, y'see: therefore, ya can't blame Good Ole Jimmy for any health care problems!
The concern about "guesstimates" expressed by Stanborough is quite right - but, still, that's why we can, and should, ask for coroner's inquiries - to actually find out. A political pattern will reveal itself, if you have enough inquiries - but it's sad that this is the way to do it.
And - as with Ombudsman findings - McGuinty, Bradley and the rest of the Grit gang of monopolists ultimately really aren't bound by what a coroner says. The Liberals are accountable only to a failed single-payer monopolist ideology - not to patients!
Liberals and other single-payer-pushers love using the word "anecdote" to demeaningly describe the myriad Davis' and Harris' and Holmes' experiences with Ontario's Liberal health care.
What smells about the Badawey/Scholfield approach is that they want MORE of the same problematic Liberal health care duplicity - not more patient-payer choice; they want more of the same failed old monopolism.
(Let's say that Davis had gone to the United States, not to Welland, for health care; and that he had survived, and then demanded answers of his government's health care failures - would he too have been subject to pages of disgusting single-payer-pushers ridiculing him on Facebook, demanding to "Deport Don Davis", as they did to Shona Holmes?! Of course he would have! That's what these "friends" of medicare do.)
Let's see what happened to Don Davis; let's see also what happened to Helen Harris.
I'm sure Liberals won't like it.