New Brunswick

Moncton Muslim community honours 'sweetest person' who died in ER waiting room

Friends and family of a Moncton man who died at the Moncton Hospital emergency room earlier this week held a rally at the hospital on Saturday.

MS died early Wednesday morning after complaining of back and chest pain following a medical procedure

A protester holds a sign with a picture of a Moncton man, identified only as MS, who died at the Moncton Hospital waiting room last Wednesday. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio Canada)

Friends and family of a Moncton man who died at the Moncton Hospital emergency room earlier this week held a rally at the hospital on Saturday.

The father of five is being identified only by the initials MS in order to protect his family's privacy. He died at the hospital after collapsing in the ER.

Abdal Khan, the president of the Moncton Muslim Association, said the man was known as an "integral part" of Moncton's Muslim community and will be greatly missed.

"He always used to come to the mosque and he was the sweetest person in the world," Khan said. 

"He will come smiling and I never saw him not smiling. He was a very patient guy who [would] never complain."

MS left behind his partner, his children and a wide circle of family and friends.

Mohammed Tom, who was close to MS, said MS was someone who looked out for his family and the greater community. He doesn't know what they'll do now.

Abdal Khan, president of the Moncton Muslim Association, said MS was known as an 'integral part' of Moncton’s Muslim community and will be greatly missed. (Aniekan Etuhube/CBC)

"We don't have any leader," Tom said. "We don't have any guidance."

New details

New details on the situation surrounding the man's death have come to light, both through interviews with friends and family, but also through a statement from the association.

According to a post on the association's Facebook page on Friday, the man was released from the hospital on Monday after undergoing a medical procedure. 

He was given instructions to return to the hospital immediately if he was suffering from back or chest pain.

On Tuesday, he presented to the Moncton Hospital ER at 10 p.m., according to the statement.

Dozens of people gather in front of the Moncton Hospital on Saturday to protest the man's death. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

He underwent some tests but was told by midnight to wait in the waiting room.

He was dead by 3:30 a.m.

"Witnesses report that over his stay he told hospital staff numerous times that he believed he was dying," the statement said.

On Thursday, Dr. Serge Melanson, Horizon Health's clinical lead of emergency services, said the patient was "triaged appropriately as an emergency priority." 

The ER was "in a critical overcapacity state" at the time, he said, so the patient was placed in the main waiting room "until a suitable exam space was available."

Horizon hasn't independently released any further information about MS.

However, Melanson said a review into the incident is underway.

Asking why?

The man's death has once again put a spotlight on the province's struggling health-care system.

It comes after years of temporary department closures, pleas from various ERs for patients to stay away and at least one other example of someone dying in a hospital ER awaiting treatment.

Tom said the protest is bigger than MS or the Muslim community in Moncton. He said it is about the sad state of health care in the province.

Mohammed Tom, who was close to MS, said MS was someone who looked out for his immediate family and the greater community. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

"We are speaking for all Canadian people [who are] dying here," Tom said. 

Khan said the province needs to put more money into health care and to start making more of an effort to reduce waiting times.

"Let's say they have to commit that in six months we're going to lower the ER wait time from 12 hours to two hours, something like that," Khan said. 

"That's something they should give us."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the president of the Moncton Muslim Association. His name is Abdal Khan.
    Nov 30, 2022 3:01 PM AT

With files from Aniekan Etuhube

now