Health ministry admits it shouldn't have released suicidal man
Published Friday, August 11, 2017 3:32PM PDT
B.C. health officials admitted they did not provide proper care last year to a suicidal man who took his own life an hour after being released from a Burnaby hospital.
Kim Young, the mother of Eddie Young, has received an apology from the B.C. Ministry of Health. Representatives from the ministry admitted staff at Burnaby Hospital did not abide by the Mental Health Act when they released Eddie Young from hospital in May of 2016 without notifying next of kin.
Kim says this “colossal mistake” by doctors and staff killed her son.
For more than a year, she’s been fighting B.C.’s health care system for answers and demanding justice.
“He would be alive today if [the psychiatrist] did not release my son,” she said.
Eddie was suffering from depression and anxiety. Kim took him to the facility, telling staff he was suicidal and to call her the minute he was released so she could keep an eye on him. Instead of calling, the hospital released Eddie a few days later with a bus ticket.
About an hour later, police and paramedics surrounded a bridge by the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain Station. Eddie had killed himself.
Two representatives from the Ministry of Health recently held a conference call with Kim after a year of investigating Edide’s death. Kim’s sister recorded the call, during which the officials admitted doctors and hospital staff did not follow the Mental Health Act properly.
“They said they were sorry,” Kim said. “And I said well, sorry doesn’t really cut it.”
Kim still gets emotional when she listens to that recording. She’s upset hospital staff didn’t listen to her when she told them her son was suicidal and that they let Eddie go without telling her.
“My son could’ve been saved with a simple phone call,” she said.
But the officials from the ministry said they are trying to correct the mistakes that were made with Eddie to ensure that doesn’t happen again. They’re implementing changes because of what happened to Eddie.
Now, any patient that comes in with mental health issues will not be released without a family member, an advocate or a backup plan, they said.
“That tells me that he didn’t die in vain,” Kim said. “He lost his life, but he is saving lives. That gives me great comfort.”
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s St. John Alexander.