Quebec coroner says delay in getting to hospital a likely factor in baby’s death

MONTREAL-A Quebec coroner is calling on the province to reduce the time it takes to get remote patients to hospital after a seven-month-old baby from a northern First Nations community died after waiting for care.

Niteiyah Chilton died in April of bacterial meningitis after it took more than five and a half hours to bring her to the nearest hospital by ambulance, and more than eight and a half hours to get her to a specialized centre in Montreal.

A nurse from the community of Manawan, about 250 kilometres north of Montreal, called 911 on the night of April 2 after the baby was suffering from convulsions and breathing problems.

The local ambulance service was already overwhelmed, which forced the family to wait more than an hour and 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from another community.

Coroner Gehane Kamel wrote in her report that the delay in accessing care very likely impacted the child’s chances of survival.

Kamel is recommending that the province review its emergency pre-hospital services system and consider offering helicopter evacuations for critically ill patients in remote communities.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

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