Health officials are investigating whether a man who died after being turned away from receiving dialysis treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) was consistent with his treatments, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.
“What we are trying to determine is the frequency of dialysis of the patient over the last two months relative to the prescribed or expected number of treatments and whether those missed treatments were as a result of challenges with the Dialysis Unit or because the patient himself did not present for dialysis,” Sands said.
“But certainly as we look there is a significant difference from the number of dialysis sessions that the patient should have had and the number of sessions that he did have.
“Ultimately, when the patient presented to the hospital it was impossible to dialyze him.
“There were other patients with similar needs who were being dialyzed.
“In the ensuing hours, the patient developed what we call pulmonary edema and ended up with a cardio pulmonary arrest.”
The patient, identified by his family as Neil Bethel, 25, was a father of one.
Stacey Cooper, his sister, said he attempted to receive treatment at the Dialysis Unit on Monday, but was turned away, along with 19 other people, due to a staff shortage. She said he was admitted to hospital later that night and died.
Sands said this is a “most unfortunate situation”.
“This incident puts a face and a name to years of institutional inertia,” he said.
“I wish that we could fix it with the snap of a hand.”
The Guardian has reported that the Dialysis Unit was in crisis due to a shortage of trained nurses, dialysis machines plagued with operational failures, a leaky ceiling, flooding and a malfunctioning air conditioning system.
Sands said the ministry has to find solutions for the challenges the unit faces.