'Generous' North Shore dentist B.C.'s first community death from COVID-19
VANCOUVER -- A North Vancouver dentist who practised for more than four decades has been confirmed as B.C.'s first community death from COVID-19, according to the BC Coroners Services and a family lawyer.
Dr. Denis Vincent, described by those who knew him as generous, kind, and giving, died at home the weekend of March 21st.
At the time, provincial health officials could not confirm his death was connected to the novel coronavirus.
In a statement on Monday, family lawyer Bettyanne Brownlee described Vincent as a "a gifted dentist" with "a great sense of humour," who "cared deeply about people."
"He was enormously proud of his sons, who will keep their memories close as they come to terms with the absence of their father from their adult lives," Brownlee wrote.
Lars Goeller, whose children were Vincent’s patients, called the dentist "incredibly kind."
"When my wife’s father passed away a few years ago, he had such kind words. He was so caring," Goeller told CTV News last week.
On Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expressed her sadness and sympathy over Vincent’s death but wouldn’t officially comment or release additional information because of privacy concerns.
Dr. Vincent was one of nearly 15,000 people who attended the Pacific Dental Conference in early March, but it’s unclear if that’s where he was exposed to the coronavirus.
On March 12, health authorities announced there had been a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the conference, and asked attendees to monitor for symptoms.
It wasn’t until March 16 that Dr. Henry requested all conference participants to stop seeing patients and to self-isolate. As of last week, officials said 32 cases of coronavirus in BC were connected to the conference.
In her statement, Vincent’s family lawyer wrote that health officials assessed the potential for transmission at Vincent’s office.
"Their conclusion was that there was no risk to patients from encounters with Dr. Vincent," Brownlee wrote, before going on to write about Vincent’s "great loves": skiing and sailing.
And longtime friend, Todd Riley, who met Vincent over 30 years ago and skied with him for decades, told CTV News he would remember Vincent as someone who "always had a smile on his face."