The Nunavut government is apologizing to the family of a three-month-old baby after a damning report, prompted by a CBC investigation, that revealed major problems with the health-care system around the time of his death.
"No family should have to go through this, so I apologize to the family," Health Minister Paul Okalik said in Iqaluit on Monday about Makibi Timilak, who died in April 2012.
"We have policies in place to prevent this but they did not occur. So our next role is to make sure they are not repeated."
- Report into baby Makibi Timilak's death calls for coroner's inquest
- Nunavut put community's health 'at risk' by mishandling nurse
Makibi's mother, Neevee Akesuk, says he had been crying all day and was having trouble breathing before he died.
She says she called the Cape Dorset health centre, and the nurse in charge refused to see him, contrary to government policy.
The Nunavut government ordered an external report into the death after a CBC report that revealed multiple complaints against the nurse who was in charge the night of his death.
'A culture of fear'
The report, titled "A Journey through Heartache," by former lawyer Katherine Peterson, was revealed Monday.
Peterson described how "a culture of fear" had developed within the government of Nunavut, and said the Cape Dorset health centre was a troubled work environment long before the death of Makibi.
"I should emphasize that none of the employees at the health centre who were directly involved in these tragic matters work at the health centre any longer. And indeed, some of the key managerial players are no longer employees of the government of Nunavut."
Among the report's 47 recommendations is a call for a formal inquest into the death, partly because of conflicting facts of what exactly caused the death.
Nunavut chief coroner Padma Suramala initially attributed it to sudden infant death syndrome, but later signed off on an autopsy report by an Ottawa pathologist who concluded that the baby had died of a widespread viral infection in both lungs.
After a second Ottawa pathologist reviewed the original autopsy results and tissue samples, and found no evidence of a viral infection, Suramala classified the death as "undetermined."
"If it was my baby that had died, I would want to know," Peterson said. "I think this family deserves that."
The Nunavut government says it will be up to the baby's parents, Akesuk and Luutaaq Qaumagiaq, to decide if they want an inquest.
Health Minister Okalik plans to travel to Cape Dorset on Tuesday to present the report to the family and the community.