The Northwest Territories government now says it will launch an external investigation into the care of an Aklavik elder who had a massive stroke, but whose niece says that community health centre staff had mistaken him for being drunk.

Hugh Papik, 68, later died from the effects of the stroke.  

Maggie Papik said that when her uncle was found earlier this month on the floor of his room at an elder's home, staff said he was drunk. Papik brought him to the Aklavik Health Centre, where nurses told her the same thing, she says. He wasn't medevacked to Inuvik for six hours.

Doctors later told her that her uncle had had a massive stroke and was brain dead.

The N.W.T. Department of Health and Social Services initially told CBC News that it had looked into the matter and was confident that "appropriate clinical practices were followed."

Late Tuesday, Health Minister Glen Abernethy announced there will be an outside investigation.

Abernethy said he is deeply concerned about the accusations of the care the elder received.

Maggie Papik said she is happy there will be an investigation, but that she's disappointed something like this had to happen before any changes are made.

There is no word yet on who will conduct the external review or when it will begin.

With files from Hilary Bird