Police dispute claims by the Winnipeg Free Press that a report has been filed recommending criminal charges in the emergency room death of Brian Sinclair.
Sinclair, a 45-year-old double amputee with a speech problem, was found dead in his wheelchair after spending 34 hours in the ER waiting room of the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre on Sept. 21, 2008.
An autopsy later determined he died as a result of a blood infection brought on by complications of a bladder infection caused by a blocked catheter.
His death could have been prevented if the blood infection had been treated, Manitoba's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra, said within days of the incident.
'The investigation is continuing and therefore we will not be commenting on the matter.'—Winnipeg Police Service
The Free Press reported that an officer from the Winnipeg Police Service's homicide unit has concluded that a charge of criminal negligence causing death should be laid against an ER employee and the hospital should be charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.
The newspaper says the recommendations have been forwarded to Manitoba justice officials.
However, the police service issued a news release on Wednesday, saying the investigation into Sinclair's death is ongoing.
"This investigation has not been concluded and a report has not been forwarded to Manitoba Justice," the release stated.
"The investigation is continuing and therefore we will not be commenting on the matter."
Heidi Graham, a spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, has also said the authority has not been notified of the recommendations and would not be commenting.
Inquest, lawsuit on hold
An inquest and a civil lawsuit connected to the incident are also pending.
The start of the inquest has been delayed by disputes over the Sinclair family's access to video tapes and other documents, as well as the the amount of fees the family is entitled by the province to cover legal costs at the inquest.
The family has also filed a lawsuit against several medical staff, the regional health authority and the Manitoba government for $1.6 million.
The statement of claim, filed in September 2010, lists 18 defendants, including the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and its senior vice president and chief medical officer Brock Wright.
Both the inquest and civil suit were put on the backburner in October 2010 when the police service announced it was launching a criminal investigation.
If charges are laid, the inquest and civil matter will be on hold until the legal proceedings in the criminal case are completed.