Hospi­tal’s re­sponse

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“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.”

Lost every­thing

“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.

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