North

N.W.T. man's suicide prompts call for review of his depression treatment

The N.W.T. coroner wants a review done of the care provided to a man who committed suicide after repeatedly asking to be admitted to the Inuvik hospital for treatment for depression.

Milan Cerny of Inuvik asked repeatedly to be admitted to hospital, says coroner

The N.W.T. coroner wants a review done of the care provided to a man who committed suicide after repeatedly asking to be admitted to the Inuvik hospital for treatment for depression.

Northwest Territories Chief Coroner Cathy Menard says Milan Cerny, 62, was admitted to the Inuvik Hospital in June 2014 for depression and suicide ideation. He had a history of depression and alcohol abuse.

'It's a very sad case of someone who was lonely and depressed for many, many years,' says N.W.T. Chief Coroner Cathy Menard. (CBC)

Menard's report says it was determined that home care would be a suitable option for Cerny. But Menard says over the following weeks he continued to struggle with loneliness and depression and had problems with his medication.

He repeatedly asked to be admitted into the hospital to have his condition stabilized.

On Aug. 15, 2014, Cerny's landlord called the RCMP to check on him. Police discovered Cerny lying face up on his bed. He had died a few days earlier from morphine toxicity. An autopsy revealed numerous pills and pill fragments in his stomach.

"It's a very sad case of someone who was lonely and depressed for many, many years," says Menard.

In her report, Menard recommends the Beaufort Delta Health Authority review the patient care given to Cerny and the hospital's policies and procedures.

Menard says she doesn't know why Cerny wasn't admitted into the hospital given his history of substance abuse.

"They must have felt the care that he was being given was the best care that they could provide for him," says Menard.

"We want them to look back and say 'OK, this is what we did. What are the best practices? What can we do and how can we do things differently from now on?'"

The Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services was not available for immediate comment.

Menard says Cerny's death was one of 12 suicides in the Northwest Territories in 2014. That's up from eight in 2013 and eight in 2012.

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