Saskatchewan

Mother of late cancer patient frustrated by response to complaints about inadequate care

Joyce Tapaquon claims her daughter was mistreated by health-care workers and feels justice has not been done, even after she filed complaints.

Daughter mistreated by health-care workers and no action being taken, says Joyce Tapaquon

Joyce Tapaquon says justice has not been done for her daughter who she says was discriminated against by health care workers. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

Joyce Tapaquan says justice has not been done for her daughter, who she claims was mistreated by Regina health-care staff.

Juliette Tapaquon, 39, died in 2014 of cervical cancer, after being treated at Regina's Pasqua Hospital palliative care unit.

Joyce lodged complaints with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan over what she feels was improper care and disrespect by health-care staff.

Juliette's family said during her final days, she was discriminated against by staff and that her pain was not adequately managed, among other concerns.

The human rights commission declined to review the case, as it was submitted past the deadline of one year after the alleged incidents occuring.

In a letter addressed to the family, the college said it passed along the concerns to one of Juliette's doctors.

It also noted that the committee reviewing the case believed that the doctor "genuinely feared for her safety after threats were made to her by Juliette" — a threat noted in the family's complaint to the human rights commission. Afterward, the doctor provided medical advice to Juliette's caregivers and ensured adequate access to medication, the letter says.

Juliette Tapaquon. (Submitted by Bob Hughes)

But Joyce is not satisfied, as she feels there has been no consequence for those in charge of her daughter's care.

"I feel like I'm at a stuck point. I feel like nobody's listening. I feel like no one is hearing what I'm saying," she told reporters during a press conference Tuesday.

Justice for her daughter, she said, would include having a room at the Pasqua Hospital designated Bear Woman Lodge, after her late daughter, and more education for health-care workers.

"I'd feel better if they got more awareness of Aboriginal people and First Nations people, and how we live and why we are the way we are today." 

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