“When I walked into Renee’s room, I was shocked,” Lockyer said. “She was in a typical fourbed room. The door was closed; there was no window in the door. It was very untypical of what I’ve seen of any psychiatric ward.
“They knew she was a bit agitated. Why did they put her in a room where other people could have been hurt or hurt her? Why wasn’t she monitored given the fact that all these meds had been administered and she was dopey and groggy?”
Following Thornhill’s death, a representative from the hospital phoned her mother with the news. Lockyer has issues with that procedure.
“Normally, the hospital should phone the cops and have a social worker attend,” Lockyer said. “You do not call a mother up on the phone, who is home alone, and tell her that her daughter just passed away in a hospital. What if Wanda would have gotten in her car, rushed to the hospital and had an accident?”
Thornhill had been to the hospital four to five times in the two or three months leading up to her death to receive care for mental illness. Lockyer says each time she was released, her mental health deteriorated.
“She was admitted to hospital, I think one time was for 17 or 21 days,” Lockyer recalled. “She was starting to come around. She was released and she went back downhill again.
“Her mom had her in the hospital several times and they kept releasing her, against everyone’s Link to the Go Fund Me page
wishes. If they had kept her there originally when she was starting to improve, she may have been OK,” she said.
Lockyer says she feels frustrated and angry about Thornhill’s death.
“We are in a state of shock, nobody expected this.” Lockyer said. “Her mental health issues should not have caused her death. Renee walked her mother to the door at about 9:30 p.m., said goodnight and, ‘I’ll see you in the morning’, the night she died.
“The hardest part of this is that Wanda went to a JP (justice of the peace) and had an order signed to put her in the hospital. (Wanda) came home Thursday and said, ‘I can go to sleep, I know where she’s at and I know she’s safe.’ What happened? She was a healthy 33-year old with no illnesses.”
“Renee was an absolutely beautiful, very talented, very loving young woman,” Lockyer said of her niece. “She had the biggest heart. We’ve lost everything in her. We’ve lost an absolutely talented, beautiful young woman who has not had an opportunity at the best of life. Renee was her mom’s only daughter. Renee has an 11-year old brother who adored her.”
In a recent conversation with her mother, Renee Thornhill said her final wishes were “make me pretty” for viewing in the casket if such a time were ever to arrive. Her family organized a GoFundMe campaign to fly her body home to Marystown for the funeral. Thornhill was laid to rest on Saturday, June 2.
Thornhill’s family must now wait three to six months for a toxicology report that will determine if a specific drug or combination of drugs caused her death. In the meantime, the family has lodged a complaint with the hospital and retained a lawyer.
The Ottawa Hospital responded to The Southern Gazette’s questions regarding hospital policies with the following statement: “Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time, as they grieve for their loved one. While we cannot speak to a specific case due to patient confidentiality, patients and families may contact our Patient Advocacy Department, whose mandate it is to address any concerns related to patient care.”
Edna Lockyer says she feels “frustrated and angry” about her niece Renee Thornhill’s death.