Inquest called into death of woman after hospital discharge

A friend of a Winnipeg woman who collapsed and died after being discharged from a hospital emergency room last year says she hopes an inquest will bring answers.

A close friend of a Winnipeg woman who collapsed and died after being discharged from a hospital emergency room last year says she hopes an inquest will bring answers and change.

Manitoba's chief medical examiner announced Tuesday that an inquest will be held into the death of Heather Brenan, 68, who collapsed on the doorway of her home on Jan. 27, 2012, shortly after she took a taxi from Seven Oaks General Hospital that night.

Heather Brenan died on Jan. 28, 2012, from blood clots in her legs, according to an autopsy report. (CBC)

Brenan was rushed back to the hospital, where she died the next day. An autopsy determined she died from blood clots in her lower legs that travelled to her lungs.

Brenan originally went to the emergency room on Jan. 24 because she had been losing weight for a month and was experiencing pain while trying to eat, said her close friend, Nadya Northage.

"There was no reason for her to die. All they had to do was keep testing and finding out why she couldn't swallow," Northage told CBC News.

Brenan went through a number of tests at the hospital for several days, although she was never admitted as a patient, according to the chief medical examiner's office.

Officials said she was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 27 at 10:35 p.m., after a doctor assessed her and hospital staff apparently made arrangements for Brenan to be met at her home by a friend.

Northage said Brenan was discharged against her wishes.

"I wanted them to get down to the bottom of it so she could start eating again, but they just decided she was fine," Northage said.

Chief medical examiner Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra said the inquest will determine the circumstances surrounding Brenan's death, look at the hospital's policy regarding the discharging of patients at night, and examine the hospital's acute care bed situation.

The date, time and location of the inquest have not yet been set.