British Columbia

2nd patient dies after being sent home from Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Fraser Health officials say they will look into a second case in which a patient died not long after being sent home from Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

Mary Louise Murphy, 56, was taken to hospital sweating profusely and in pain Jan. 30, says a friend

Mary Louise Murphy was brought to Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Jan. 30. She had severe back pain and was short of breath, said a family friend. (Andrew Grimeau)

Fraser Health officials say they will investigate a case from late last month in which a patient was sent home from Abbotsford Regional Hospital but died just days later. 

Mary Louise Murphy, 56, was brought to the hospital the night of Jan. 30, said friend Andrew Grimeau. He says Murphy was in pain, sweating profusely and had trouble breathing.

She wasn't admitted to hospital that night, and died at home Feb. 1, Grimeau said.

It's the second time this month that a patient has died not long after they were sent home from Abbotsford Regional.

Both the Fraser Health Authority and the B.C. Coroners Service are also investigating last week's death of a three-year-old who died a day after being sent home from the same hospital's emergency room.

In Murphy's case, a doctor told her she was experiencing muscle spasms, gave her a shot of morphine and sent her home, said Grimeau. 

Grimeau is seeking answers from health officials and wonders if her death could have been prevented.

"I would like to see improvements made in this hospital," he said.

Andrew Grimeau described Mary Louise Murphy as his adoptive mother although the relationship was not legalized. He visited Murphy after she was sent home from hospital. (Andrew Grimeau)

Grimeau visited Murphy after she was sent home from hospital. She was in bed in discomfort, tossing and turning, he said.

"She couldn't even get up. I said to Mary Lou, 'Are you OK,' and she said, 'I don't know.'"

Murphy waited five hours before she was seen by a doctor, Grimeau said.

The cause of her death has not been determined.

Fraser Health Authority spokesperson Tasleem Juma said the organization has reached out to the family and contacted the B.C. Coroner Service, but said a formal complaint has yet to be registered with its patient care quality office.

"We have committed to them to look at this patient's file and to reach out to the coroner to see if they have any information."

With files from Farrah Merali