Methadone clinic nurse did not know overdose procedure, inquest told

The nurse at an Ottawa clinic who realized a man had received a fatal methadone overdose told an inquest that she did not know of any procedure at the facility to deal with such a mistake.

An Ottawa clinic nurse whofirst noticed a manhad received afatal methadone overdose duringtreatmenttold a coroner's inquest that she did not know of any procedure at the facility to deal with such a mistake.

Sandra Naulttestified Monday into the deatha year agoof 41-year-old Wade Hatt, who was sent home from the government-sanctioned clinic on Somerset Street after the accidental overdose. Helater died.

Thefive-member juryisexamining Hatt's case to determine the safety of Ontario methadone clinics, where more than11,000 residents were treatedin 2005for addictions to opiate drugs such as heroin or morphine.

Nault broke down several timeswhile recounting the events leading up to Hatt's death in October 2005.

Nault said she was one of two nursesat the clinicwhen Hatt arrived with his girlfriend, Julie Maloney, at theirnormal time.

Nault recalled Hatt,a father of two,was friendly and respectful as usual.

Hatt,who worked as a delivery man,was fighting an addiction to painkillers, and usually took only a 15-milligram dose of methadone, while Maloney's normal dose was 150 mg.

Nault said she mixed each dose with a glass oforange drink, then set the glassesdown.

After Maloney and Hattdrankmost of each glass, Nault realizedthe bottles of methadone had been switched— Hatt had received almost 10 times his normal dose.

Nault said shetold Hatt to stop drinking.

She had been working at the clinic for a couple of months, but, she said, she did not know of any procedure for dealing with an overdose.

Naultalso said she couldn't remember whether she ever read an emergency manual.

Hatt was brought to the bathroom by another nurse, who tried to induce vomiting, with limited success. He was then seen by the clinic doctor.

Wrong phone number in Hatt's file

Meanwhile, Nault contacted an on-call doctor outside the clinic. Nault said no one told her to send Hatt to the hospital.

Instead, Hatt was sent home.

Nault recalled that he smiled and gave her a high-five as hewalked out ofthe clinic.

The second nurse testified that after Hatt left, she was told to call him at home to check on him.

The number in the file was wrong, and when she dialed it, she learned Hattno longer livedthere.

The next morning, she reached Maloneyby phone, and learned Hatt died during the night.

Earlier, the coroner's jurywas told Hattdied of heart failure.

The inquest continues Tuesday.