Re­nee Thorn­hill’s fam­ily wants an­swers

33-year-old Lit­tle Bay East na­tive died in an Ot­tawa hospi­tal while be­ing treated for men­tal ill­ness

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY MAR­TINE BLUE LIT­TLE BAY EAST, N.L.

Edna Lock­yer wants to know why her phys­i­cally healthy 33-year-old niece, Re­nee Thorn­hill, died at the Ot­tawa Hospi­tal while re­ceiv­ing care for men­tal health is­sues.

The Lit­tle Bay East na­tive had been hos­pi­tal­ized three days ear­lier af­ter ex­hibit­ing symp­toms her fam­ily thought might be in line with psy­chosis. Fol­low­ing a floor and room switch from the men­tal health emer­gency unit to a men­tal health ward the evening be­fore, Thorn­hill was found un­re­spon­sive the next morn­ing (Monday, May 21) at 4:30 a.m.

The coro­ner’s re­port states that there were no ob­vi­ous signs as to the cause of death. Al­though Thorn­hill had strug­gled in the past with opi­oid ad­dic­tion fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent and a back in­jury, Lock­yer said her niece had been off drugs in the months lead­ing up to her death. Her blood­work tested neg­a­tive for opi­oids when she was ad­mit­ted to the hospi­tal and she did not have ac­cess to them dur­ing her stay there.

Lock­yer be­lieves her niece may have been over­med­i­cated, but has no proof of that. She said Thorn­hill’s mother, Wanda Thorn­hill, wor­ried that her daugh­ter’s med­i­ca­tion might be dou­bled when she was switched to an­other floor the night be­fore she died. She said she made her con­cerns clear to the staff mem­bers over­see­ing the move.

“They were giv­ing her med­i­ca­tion and her mother said, ‘Make sure that’s on her chart so they don’t du­pli­cate it up­stairs,’” Lock­yer said.

The fam­ily has other con­cerns about the care Thorn­hill re­ceived, as well. Lock­yer con­tends that at one point Thorn­hill seemed groggy and off bal­ance. “Wanda told them, ‘She’s fall­ing over,’” Lock­yer said. “’What hap­pens if I leave and she falls down?’” She said the nurse did not seem con­cerned.

Shocked

Lock­yer said she also wor­ried when she saw the men­tal health unit Thorn­hill was moved to was a shared ward.

See HOSPI­TAL’S, Page 3

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Edna Lock­yer de­scribes her niece — “Re­nee was an ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful, very tal­ented, very lov­ing young wo­man. She had the big­gest heart.”

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