CBC Investigates

Inconsistencies found after patient's death at Hillsborough Hospital

An internal review by the P.E.I. Department of Health in the months after Catherine Gillis died found inconsistencies in the way her health records were recorded and shared among staff at the Hillsborough Hospital, CBC News has learned.

Inquest to be held in April into Catherine Gillis' death, 8 years after she died

The inquest on the death at the mental health hospital will be held in April. (CBC)

An internal review by the P.E.I. Department of Health in the months after Catherine Gillis died found inconsistencies in the way her health records were recorded and shared among staff at the Hillsborough Hospital, CBC News has learned.

Gillis was 69 when she took her own life on Feb. 14, 2010, while she was a patient at the hospital.

Because she was an involuntary patient, the government is required under the Coroner's Act to hold an inquest into her death.

The government announced Friday the inquest will take place April 9-10, 2018.

Through a freedom of information request, CBC News obtained a redacted copy of a risk management report about Gillis' death from the Department of Health dated May 4, 2010.

Besides the inconsistencies within Gillis' health records, the report found that when Gillis was transferred between units of Hillsborough Hospital on Feb. 1, 2010, information about her observation level was not included in her transfer order.

An assessment by nursing staff on Feb. 10 had placed Gillis under 15-minute checks.

Security cameras recommended

The report also noted there was confusion for staff trying to deal with Gillis' death, owing in part to the fact that a new security guard working at the front entrance was not familiar with the location of the unit where she died.

As a possible remedy, the report recommended security cameras be placed in hallways at a cost of $150,000 and under the heading of "anticipated completion date," said "may not be able to accomplish this recommendation."

The closed circuit monitoring system was eventually installed as part of capital upgrades at Hillsborough Hospital, which the government announced in 2016.

If we don't do what we are bound by law to do, how can we say that we are doing everything within our power to provide the best care possible for our most vulnerable citizens?— Sophia Ball

Sophia Ball has been calling on government to hold an inquest to examine the circumstances around Gillis' death. Ball's mother Sherry took her life while she was a patient at Hillsborough in 2013. The inquest into that suicide in 2016 led to more than a dozen recommendations for changes.

"It's important that we follow due process so that we can examine what happened in the hopes that we can avoid preventable deaths in the future," she told CBC News after the dates for the Gillis inquest were announced Friday

"If we don't do what we are bound by law to do, how can we say that we are doing everything within our power to provide the best care possible for our most vulnerable citizens?"