Yukon family seeks answers on hospital death

The family of Teresa Ann Scheunert, 47, want to know why she died of 'mixed drug toxicity' while being treated for severe back pain.

The family of a woman who died in Watson Lake hospital in 2012 wants answers from the Yukon Hospital Corporation. An autopsy found that Teresa Ann Scheunert died of 'mixed drug toxicity' while being treated for severe back pain.

This morning Scheunert's two grown daughters and a sister spoke in a news conference arranged by NDP MLA Jan Stick.

Scheunert’s daughter, Crystal Thomas, says the family insisted on an autopsy after doctors initially told them that Scheunert died of a heart attack.

A coroner’s report was released on June 14th of this year, but Thomas says coroner Kirsten Macdonald withdrew it five hours after publication.

“Within five hours of the coroner issuing the report, she [Macdonald] contacted us to say that in her review, an important fact was misinterpreted, and that the first report she sent us would be replaced,” Thomas says. “The second coroner's report didn't come out until July 9th, almost a month later, and it's substantially different from the first one on several points.

Today the family released the first report. It shows that specific mention of which opiates — and in which amounts —​ Scheunert was given has been removed from the final report,. The first report also says 'there was a gap' at the Watson Lake hospital with regards to high-alert medications. That was changed in the final report to read: "it appears more could have been done."

Coroner Kirsten Macdonald has told CBC the report was changed because new facts came to light.

Scheunert's family is calling for an inquest open to the public.


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