Montreal

Quebec teen's youth centre death avoidable, coroner says

A Quebec coroner said a 15-year-old girl who died from a blood infection while staying at a youth centre might still be alive if staff had intervened more quickly.

A Quebec coroner said a 15-year-old girl who died from a blood infection while staying at a youth centre might still be alive if staff had intervened more quickly.

Rebecca Lévesque died of a blood infection in February while under child protection services at a centre for troubled youth in Lévis, near Quebec City.

Her family said staff should have known she was sick and should have taken her to the hospital. On Thursday Quebec coroner Luc Malouin completed his investigation into the death and said more could have been done.

Malouin said blood infections are treatable, and Lévesque might still be alive if staff had intervened.

"When they saw some serious problem, they must call Info-Santé or they must go to hospital," said Malouin.

"All the people who were working there are good people that work in good faith, but I think they misunderstood the seriousness of the illness," he said.

Lévesque was a troubled youth with behavioural problems who had run away from a youth centre eight times.

She had complained to staff about fever-like symptoms one evening and called a nurse at Info-Santé for advice. The nurse on the phone told her she should go to hospital within an hour if her symptoms didn't improve.

Staff kept her at the centre overnight, and by morning she was dead.

Lévesque's family has been pushing the government to hold a public inquiry into the case.

A lawyer for the family also said he intends to file a lawsuit on their behalf.