‘WE HAVE TO GET SOME JUS­TICE’

Griev­ing mother hopes A coroner’s in­quest into her daugh­ter’s 2015 death in re­mand en­sures no other fam­i­lies face A sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - D.C. FRASER dfraser@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/dcfraser

Sherri Char­trand says her daugh­ter could still be alive to­day.

Char­trand’s daugh­ter, Bre­anna Kannick, died at the White Birch Re­mand Unit in Regina on Aug. 20, 2015.

“We have to get some jus­tice, and hope no one ever goes through it again,” Char­trand said this week. “I don’t want to put an­other fam­ily through this.”

Kannick’s mother trav­elled from Man­i­toba with her sis­ter to at­tend the in­quest.

As tes­ti­mony wrapped up Thurs­day, sched­uled to re­sume on May 14, Char­trand said the ex­pe­ri­ence has been hard.

“It was ex­haust­ing, emo­tion­ally for my­self and my fam­ily,” she said.

For al­most three years, Char­trand has ques­tioned the qual­ity of med­i­cal care her daugh­ter was given when she ar­rived at White Birch on the af­ter­noon of Mon­day, Aug. 17, 2015.

Al­most im­me­di­ately after Kannick’s death, her mother told the Leader-Post her daugh­ter should have been on med­i­cal watch to help aid drug with­drawals, and al­leged em­ploy­ees at White Birch were call­ing Kannick “pukey.”

A cor­rec­tional worker tes­ti­fy­ing this week said some of her co-work­ers de­scribed Kannick as “pukey.”

On that Mon­day night, Kannick was given an ini­tial med­i­cal as­sess­ment and de­scribed by a reg­is­tered psy­chi­atric nurse as “healthy” and “pleas­ant,” but she was with­draw­ing from an opi­oid ad­dic­tion.

At the time there was no stan­dard prac­tice for treat­ing opi­oid with­drawals.

One cor­rec­tional worker de­scribed Kannick’s con­di­tion as be­ing like a “walk­ing skele­ton.”

The nurse ad­mit­ted she didn’t fill in the en­tire in­take form and could have made mis­takes on it. The 21-year-old Kannick re­quested more than once to see a doc­tor or get a hos­pi­tal bed, but never did.

Kannick was sup­posed to be go­ing to court on the day she died.

After be­ing told more than once by guards that she had to get up, she did — but fell and hit her head on a stain­less steel shelf in her cell. Less than an hour later, she was pro­nounced dead.

Kannick was in a cell with a cam­era when the fall hap­pened, but no­body who tes­ti­fied this week saw it oc­cur.

The guard tasked with mon­i­tor­ing the cam­eras was on the phone when Kannick fell, say­ing Thurs­day work­ing in what is known as the “pod,” where the cam­eras are lo­cated, gen­er­ally in­volves “too much to do and not enough man­power.”

Mo­ments after that phone call, she saw Kannick ly­ing on her back on the cell floor.

Over an in­ter­com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem, she told Kannick to get ready for court, some­thing she tes­ti­fied feel­ing “hor­ri­ble” about, say­ing that had she seen the fall she would have had a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional at­tend to Kannick “im­me­di­ately.”

Soon after fall­ing, Kannick was throw­ing up a black sub­stance de­scribed as look­ing “al­most like cof­fee beans” and an am­bu­lance was called. After she was worked on briefly, Kannick was pro­nounced dead.

“We’re just go­ing to try and pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing again, and hope­fully it doesn’t,” Char­trand said, adding the fam­ily will con­tinue to fight for jus­tice for Kannick and work­ers will “phone 911 if they have to.”

A Min­istry of Jus­tice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Kannick’s death re­sulted in about $400,000 in added fund­ing to in­crease nurs­ing staff and pay for a doc­tor to be on site.

An opi­oid with­drawal pro­to­col is be­ing pi­loted by the prov­ince, and there are posters up at cor­rec­tional cen­tres point­ing to the signs of with­drawal.

Sec­tion 20 of The Coroners Act states that the chief coroner shall hold an in­quest into the death of a per­son who dies while an in­mate at a jail or a cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity, un­less the coroner is sat­is­fied that the per­son’s death was due en­tirely to nat­u­ral causes and was not pre­ventable. The pur­pose of an in­quest is to pro­vide a pub­lic hear­ing to ex­am­ine in de­tail the events sur­round­ing a death.

In ad­di­tion to es­tab­lish­ing who died, when and where the in­di­vid­ual died, the med­i­cal cause of death and the man­ner of death, a six-per­son coroner’s jury may make rec­om­men­da­tions to pre­vent sim­i­lar deaths.

TROY FLEECE

For al­most three years, Sherri Char­trand has ques­tioned the care her daugh­ter, Bre­anna Kannick, re­ceived in jail be­fore she died.

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