Edmonton Journal

Family looking for answers after patient dies following `altercatio­n' with U of A hospital security


A patient is dead after an “altercatio­n” with security staff at the University of Alberta Hospital.

Family have identified the man as Darryl Sabourin, 45, who they say was in hospital for alcohol detox treatment.

Sabourin's sister-in-law Shauna Gordon claims he was restrained by peace officers and believes they used excessive force.

“He went there to get help, and he ended up dying a couple days later,” she said Thursday.

Gordon cares for Sabourin's four sons — aged 11 to 19 — who she says are stunned by the loss.

“They are extremely angry. They're unable to breathe, just crying and crying in my house. It's really devastatin­g.”

According to Gordon, Sabourin was admitted to hospital March 4. She last spoke to him Saturday and urged him to get treatment for his alcohol issues.

“He said, `I want to see the boys,' she said. “I said, `Go get some help.' He was really intoxicate­d — I said, `You need to sober up.' He said `OK, yeah I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna get some help.'”

Gordon said she learned of Sabourin's death from his brother, Tim Dunham, who he was living with at the time. She rushed to the hospital, where staff told her Sabourin had been restrained after growing agitated in the facility's detox area early Wednesday morning.

There was an “altercatio­n,” she said, during which her brother-inlaw was restrained and eventually became unresponsi­ve. Resuscitat­ion efforts were unsuccessf­ul.

Dunham said a doctor at the facility told him Sabourin was having issues with another patient who was making noise and asked for a new room.

“Security came, and I'm not sure how the altercatio­n happened there, but he got away from them and ran to the nurse's desk and was dialing 911,” he said.

Gordon said when she saw Sabourin's body, his face was covered in bruises, and a tube filled with blood was in his throat. She and one of his sons prayed over the body before its transport to the medical examiners' office.

Gordon said Sabourin was Indigenous and came from Hay River, N.W.T. She and his sons are currently raising funds for a funeral. Dunham said he was in disbelief. His brother was a “good guy” who was always there for his loved ones, he said. “He was trying to better his life.”

Alberta Health Services (AHS) spokespers­on Kerry Williamson declined to give specific details about Sabourin's death, but called it a “tragic situation.”

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased,” he said in an email. “We have been in contact with the family and will work with them to answer any questions they might have.”

An Edmonton Police Service spokespers­on said city police are investigat­ing the death.

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