North

Cree doctor to lead external investigation into Hugh Papik's death

The N.W.T. government has released details about an external investigation it's launching into the death of an elder from Aklavik. Dr. Marilyn Cook, a Cree family physician, will conduct the investigation.

Papik died in August of a stroke; his niece says health care staff mistook him as drunk

Hugh Papik, 68, suffered a stroke at home in Aklavik Aug. 3. The N.W.T. government has now released details about an external investigation into his death. (submitted by Maggie Papik)

The N.W.T. government has released details about an external investigation it's launching into the death of an elder from Aklavik.

CBC first reported the story about Hugh Papik, a 68-year-old man who suffered a massive stroke at an elders' home in the community. But his niece says health care staff wouldn't treat her uncle, because they mistook him for being drunk.

Papik later died from the effects of the stroke.

Two days after Papik's story came to light, Health Minister Glen Abernethy announced there would be an external review into the elder's death.

In a statement released on Friday, Abernethy said Dr. Marlyn Cook will conduct the "critical incident investigation."

Cook is a family physician who has practised in small communities. She's also Cree and a member of the Grand Rapids First Nation.

"I am confident in Dr. Cook's abilities to provide a complete and fair investigation," Abernethy said in the statement.

The external investigation will consider whether or not a critical incident occurred and if so, what may have caused or contributed to that. It also may include recommendations to prevent future critical incidents.

The investigation will start on Sept. 12. It's expected that Cook will provide a report to Abernethy by Nov. 30.

The statement says any recommendations made will be shared with the public.

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