Published on September 25, 2007
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has ordered an external review of the death of a patient.
Published on August 28, 2010
Faye Carter's family says the 55-year-old woman died due to neglect at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Published on August 28, 2010
Faye Carter enjoys a memorable moment with her two sons, Greg, left, and Jamie. Her family has been left with many questions following her sudden death at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Photo special to The Guardian
An Ontario doctor has been called in to investigate the death of a 55-year-old P.E.I. woman who died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown after waiting more than 18 hours for surgery while fecal matter poisoned her body.
Doctors told the family of Faye Carter that she was going to make a full recovery after a routine bowel operation in October 2008.
Two weeks later she was dead.
For the past two years her son, Greg Jones, and his wife, Rachel, have been on the hunt for answers as to why their loved one died.
After poring over thousands of pages of medical records and hospital notes, the family says they discovered a hospital that was ill-equipped, understaffed and lacking the compassion needed to save somebody who meant the world to them.
“We were in shock, we were in complete and utter shock,” Rachel Jones said, as tears filled her eyes.
Her late mother-in-law’s medical records lay in stacks in front of her on the coffee table of her Stratford home.
“This woman was 55... she shouldn’t have died from this surgery. This should not have killed her.”
Greg Jones said his mother would want him to fight to get to the bottom of her death.
“I don’t think she would rest until she got to the bottom of things,” said Greg, his voice also filled with emotion.
Rachel added: “Telling the kids, that was difficult, having to say we don’t feel that the doctors and the hospital did everything they could to help Nanny live.”
The Jones have waged a nearly two-year battle with the hospital.
And while the hospital has promised a full investigation, answers have been slow coming.
While Faye Carter died in November 2008, the hospital only ordered an external review in June 2010 — nearly two years after her death.
In the meantime, the family filed a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The college said the doctor did nothing wrong and added it is not its role to review the actions of the hospital.
The Jones pleaded with the province’s top coroner. He was able to get them copies of their mother’s medical and hospital records but he was unable to answer their questions.
Hospital officials admit the review has taken longer than appropriate.
Their list of excuses for the delay includes being without a full-time medical director for more than three years, not having a chief of surgery for eight months, not having a committee in place to review general surgical deaths for more than two years (a committee that is still not in place as of today), and a long list of other complaints and concerns being investigated.
Rick Adams, executive director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, confirms an Ontario doctor, Dr. Norman Hill, has been hired to carry out an external review of Faye Carter’s death. He described Carter’s death as unfortunate but added it is too early to say whether the hospital did anything wrong.
Adams wouldn’t say what review, if any, the hospital has carried out on Carter’s death other than to say her doctors would have reviewed the file.
“We agreed that we would feel much more comfortable in an external review,” said Adams, who added that external review would have been unlikely if the family had not pushed for answers.
“The family certainly had some questions that remained unanswered and because the case had extended over a considerable amount of time we wanted a fresh set of eyes to look at the situation.”
What shocks the Jones the most is the amount of time it has taken to review their loved one’s file.
They are also shocked at how little investigation there was into the death, up until they started pushing for answers.
“How many family members have gone on thinking that everything has been done accordingly, when we can all see that this is not the case here.”
This is the second high-profile case where the actions of P.E.I.’s largest hospital have been brought into question.
Christine Handrahan of Peakes was left waiting in the hospital’s emergency room for more than three hours while she was having a miscarriage.
That case is still being investigated.
Adams said if the external review calls for changes at the hospital, those changes will be made.
But Adams stresses that these are isolated cases. He’s fearful people’s faith in their hospital is being rocked and he said that should not be the case.
“We have approximately 10,000 admissions and discharges each year and the majority of our patients and their families are satisfied with the care they receive at the QEH,” said Adams.
“I have every confidence in our staff here at the hospital in terms of providing quality care.”