Victim's family speaks out over hospital death
Suspicious hospital death prompts no changes
Posted: Aug 8, 2012 6:08 AM ET
Last Updated: Aug 8, 2012 7:01 PM ET
The family of a young psychiatric patient, who died under suspicious circumstances at the Saint John Regional Hospital in February, is speaking out for the first time.
Perry's sister, Tasha King, told CBC News waiting for answers has been hard."I don't understand any of it. It's the worst thing I've ever been through in my whole entire life. I couldn't even imagine — I've never even seen a movie that is as horrible as this," King said.
An internal investigation by the hospital into the suspicious death of Serena Perry, 22, in February has determined no changes in procedures within the unit are required, officials say.
Perry, was found dead in the hospital's amphitheatre on Valentine's Day.
Saint John police are treating her death as a homicide, Chief Bill Reid has said. No details about how she died have been released and no charges have been laid.
But psychiatric patients at the hospital are safe, stressed Dr. Rachel Morehouse, the department head of psychiatry.
"It really is a top-notch, good place to be. If you are ill. If you need help. If you need therapy. If you need the very best of care. It is safe and secure and I have nothing but good to say about it,” she said.
Perry's mother, Rose, bristles at the idea that the hospital is a safe place.
"You can't tell me it's safe, or my daughter would be home with me," she said.
Police have said they have a male suspect in Perry's death and are getting closer to laying charges. As of Tuesday, a spokesman said there is nothing new to report on the investigation.
The family told CBC News that the suspect in the case was a fellow patient in the psychiatric unit, a youth to whom Perry had become romantically attached to in hospital.
The family has been told the youth is not in custody, but is being watched closely.
Meanwhile, friends of Perry are organizing a fundraiser to help her family pay for a grave marker and cover funeral expenses.
"Everybody's getting aboard," said Barry McGrath, who has lined up a volunteer auctioneer, musicians and others to help out with the Aug. 26 fundraiser at the Grove Lounge.
"I just feel sorry for the family," said McGrath. "A terrible thing happened to this girl, which should never ever have happened in hospital care."
Many patients in the Saint John Regional Hospital's psychiatric unit are free to come and go, just like anyone else in the hospital. They can leave the unit to go for a smoke, visit the cafeteria, or just to stretch their legs.
The Saint John Regional Hospital is the province's largest hospital, which thousands of people pass through every day.
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