Yukon coroner defends altering report

Yukon's chief coroner, Kirsten Macdonald, explained to the media why she altered a report into the death of 47-year-old Teresa Scheunert at the Watson Lake hospital in 2012.

Yukon’s chief coroner is defending her reasons for altering a report on a death in the Watson Lake hospital.

Kirsten Macdonald issued a report in June into the death of 47-year-old Teresa Scheunert. She withdrew the report almost immediately, and issued another one three weeks later that had been substantially altered.

In a statement, Macdonald repeated that Scheunert died of mixed drug toxicity. She also referred to the media’s criticism of her over the reports and pointed to “speculation” as to why the changes were made.

Macdonald said her first report was written with the understanding that Scheunert's death was due to painkillers she was taking herself, in addition to those given to her in the hospital. Macdonald says she later learned that Scheunert was only taking medication administered at the hospital under a doctor's care.

She says a toxicologist advised her that no other doses of medication were taken after those given by the hospital  in short, that all levels of drugs in Scheunert's system could be accounted for as coming from the hospital.

The coroner says that's why two of her initial recommendations about patients self-administering medication were dropped.

Macdonald was not available for further comment.

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