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Inquest into incident that caused fatal brain injuries scheduled

When patients suffer unexplained injuries at health facilities in Ontario and elsewhere, loved ones sometimes struggle to find out what happened. A woman in another province may finally learn what caused the fatal brain injuries that her partner suffered on a day in April 2016 while he was a patient in a forensic ward of a mental health centre. He succumbed to his injuries just more than two months later, and she was recently informed that there will now be an inquest into the incident.

The woman says her 42-year-old partner was admitted to the facility a month after he was diagnosed with a brain disease known as frontotemporal dementia. It is a degenerative disease that affects the memory and behaviour of the patient, causing problems with doing simple tasks. The woman says she did not learn about the incident until two days after it occurred, and her partner was already on life support.

She says workers from the mental health facility who sat with her partner while he was on life support told her what happened. According to one of them, there was an argument over a cigarette that led to another patient pushing him over. He struck his head on the ground, and a worker later carried him to a nursing station. He was transported to another medical facility where it was determined that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury that jeopardized his breathing ability.

Reportedly, complications arose that caused multiple infections along with lung problems. When loved ones in Ontario suffer brain injuries or death that were caused by other parties, the family members are entitled to pursue claims for financial relief. However, in a case like this one in which the person who died from brain injuries was not married to his surviving partner, and the fact that the alleged attacker was a mental patient, might complicate the struggle to obtain recovery of damages. The most appropriate step in such circumstances is to consult with an experienced brain injury lawyer who can assess the circumstances and suggest a course of action.

Source: CBC News Canada, "Inquest to probe patient's death after push by another Selkirk Mental Health Centre patient", Erin Bronman, Aug. 2, 2017

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