Death prompts hospital probe

Wayne Thibodeau
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

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.”

Organizations: College of Physicians, Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Geographic location: Ontario, Charlottetown, Stratford

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • yall
    August 30, 2010 - 06:34

    Y'all can help things by not filling the ER with colds and cut fingers. Maybe let the emergency resources be used for actual emergencies.

  • More in the right place
    August 29, 2010 - 18:40

    For too many years the Health Dept. has been a way to employ peripheral staff with federal dollars, especially middle and upper management—including IT and certain local companies getting huge contracts. It’s time that the huge chunk of federal change was put into practical healthcare and not diverted to the form of make-work environment that exists separate from the hospitals. The results of this dollar diversion are starting to show.

  • Head Shaker
    August 29, 2010 - 08:57

    Tragic for sure. But, i can see the heartstrings being plucked to start a hysteria. Although not acceptable, these things can and will happen. Whipping people up into thinking everyone who goes into the hospital is taking a high risk of dying over trivial things, when the facts don't support it is unconsionable. It is akin to convincing people that you are likely to be murdered if you leave your house, or that if you stay home bands of criminals bill break down your door to rape and mudrer you even though the crime rates are actually dropping. It is also unforetunate that people cannot see anything without a conspiracy behind it. I suppose the ultimate cause is the freemasons? the 4th Reich? aliens? Or it may be a result of two things that plague our government in all sections. 1- slashing budgets and increasing expectations to that it is difficult to do the job asked and 2- islanders disdain for eduication and paying people with education any more money or respect than those without it, which cause many who have the needed skills to leave.

  • Sorry Excuse.
    August 28, 2010 - 17:06

    I said it before and will say it again.....Too Much management and not enough front line workers....... The management in goverment has stifiled the Deptarments work in all departments including the QEH. They bring the things that need to be done now to a screaching halt with all the made up rules and Bull@@@@, And all of this to jusitify they really have a job. These people need to be cleaned out.. PERIOD.

  • DH
    August 28, 2010 - 16:03

    I worked at the QEH for approx 6 months. I had come from western Canada with much experience. I quit my position after 6 months as I was appalled at the lack of accountability, nursing staff, equipment or anyone in management that was the least bit concerned. I am sure this family from Ont. is not the only one. The difference is what is allowed to happen medically in PEI is NOT acceptable in the rest of Canada. The lovely folks of PEI have just been told "there is no money" and ll the other excuses. Well the rest of Canada doesn't have anymore money, however accountability doesn't really cost money, lack of accountability costs lives. My heart goes out to the Carter family and my advise to them is keep digging not only for your own loved one but the population of PEI deserves better.

  • Cindy
    August 28, 2010 - 14:22

    I have zero faith in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. They leave patients for days waiting for surgery. My mother broke her hip and they left her lying there for 4 full days waiting for surgery. In the bed across from her there was another patient who had also broken their hip waiting for surgery. Every day I watched that person getting sicker, it was obvious their lungs were filling with fluid as they started having problems breathing. That person waited for 4 days for their surgery as well. That person died while waiting. I will go to my grave knowing that person died because of QEH neglect. Unfortunately that person had no family around to witness the ineptedness of that hospital but I sure saw how that poor person was treated. Fortunately my mother who they refused to let her eat or drink for 4 days had her surgery and is now ok. It was the worst experience of my life trying to deal with the nurses. I remember going to the nurse station one day, there were 10 of them standing there discussing something obviously not hospital related and ignored me for a good 10 minutes. No 2 nurses would ever tell me the same thing, so it was apparent that at least 1 of them was lying. There were many things I witnessed while there with my mother, but the one thing I just can't forget is that patient that died that should never have died. Someone should be made to account for that and for the other people that I have heard about.

  • Kay Parks
    August 28, 2010 - 14:00

    I was related to Faye and she too died needlessly, just as our mom did(Fays Aunt Hazel). Our mom died at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside in 1988 while we were waiting in Halifax for her to be transported over to Halifax for treatment. She had been in the hospital for 3 weeks and they did nothing. We tried unsuccessfully to get a lawyer in Summerside-none wanted to take the case! We contacted a lawyer from Moncton and he wanted a $10,000.00 retained amoount which none of us had. I just want to let Faye's family know that if there is anything I can possible do to help to please contact me by email.

  • Mell
    August 28, 2010 - 12:20

    Inexcusable- if the hospital was lacking this badly, the woman should have been transferred to Halifax or Moncton immediately where proper care and surgery could may have been done alot earlier to prevent what happened to this woman and her family. May I express my condolences. The hospitals on PEI are third world! A full investigation of all hospitals should take place- if they are open!!! Medical care across the island is desperate and does not take care of the island's residents. It is disgusting for a province in Canada to have this type of situation. The leaders of the federal and provincial governments sure look after themselves though- big pay-travelling all over-big pensions-big benefits-smiling phony faces- well, we could go on and on, now couldn't we, but the bottom line, they all have the gravy train on our dollar!

  • Den
    August 28, 2010 - 11:50

    Ever notice that these so-called professionals always say that the death is "unfortunate". NO, REALLY??? How about using the word "tragic" once in a while and quit sounding like a bean counter in a Wall Street firm. My condolences to Mr. Jones and his family and I hope they get to the bottom of this matter.

  • DanofromOntario
    August 28, 2010 - 11:08

    Good god, what is it going to take to get some more staff hired on at this hospital, first we have a woman who loses her baby in the hospital emergency room and now about we take some government money that has been thown around so frivolousy and get some more trained professionals here. It is all fine a dandy to add however many new beds to the emergency room and to get some new equipment but if we don't have the proper staffing for it, it might as well not have happened. This is a disgrace, I am sick just reading this because it all could have been avoided. These are people lives and well being that are in the balance this point you would be better off going to Moncton for health care...

  • phyllis wedge
    August 28, 2010 - 10:43

    How about the hospital invoke a few new rules about the code of conduct and level of professionalism for the hospital staff to live and work by. Any infraction of these rules means immediate dismissal, no excuses. People are dying out there

  • phyllis wedge
    August 28, 2010 - 10:25

    I have lost my mother recently to the incompitence and indifference of the QEH staff in the ER department. My condolences to the Jones' and I hope they continue the fight. I know my fight has only just begun. I too am demanding answers and action from both the coroner and police as my mothers death was caused by criminal negligence which amounts to murder.

  • Spudgal
    August 28, 2010 - 10:11

    My Sympathy to the Jones family. I can't imagine why it would it take two years for an external review. But then given the hospital was without - a full-time medical director for more than three years, a chief of surgery for eight months, 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 - I also can't imagine how a hospital could operate efficiently while lacking these essential administrative and executive positions and committees. I hope the changes Mr. Adams refers to will be forthcoming in a timely fashion. We heard the Handrahan's case would be reviewed and if changes were necessary would be made. However, I haven't seen a follow up report from the hospital on that case.

  • no problem
    August 28, 2010 - 09:30

    No problems here with health care, move along people you have no right to question anything about it, we the gods (I mean Doctors and RN's) know so much that your concerns can not even be considered. My condolences to the family, hopefully some good will come of this for the rest of us...Health care in Canada really really needs to be fixed and it's not the Doctors and Nurses that can do that for us we need people from outside of the health care department to look and say what is wrong.

    • Anton
      August 28, 2010 - 20:13

      NO PROBLEM- Your suggestion is valid, We NEED Someone Outside of the health care department to look and say what is wrong. HOWEVER. This IS CANADA, where once Care and Control of Universal Health Care was passed unto the Provinces, in particular PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND And NOVA SCOTIA, People's healthcare seems to have become second rate, many people using the term 'third world,' And We, The People don't have a clue, aren't informed of just where all that Federal Transferred & Provincial Monies go. NO ACCOUNTABILITY. NONE. also - NO PROBLEM, don't ever forget Canada IS The Country with the On The Take CON Mulroney government, THEN the AD SCAM Libber Chretein government. Both Scandal, Both a disgrace to Canada. IF You haven't read, ON THE TAKE. Crime, Corruption and Greed During The Mulroney Years, Author Stevie Cameron. (An Investigative Reporter, Journalist & Author- AND- THE BAGMAN. A Life In Nova Scotia Politices. Author Donald F. Ripley, ( An internationally connected Mulroney/Buchanan Tory Insider, Fund Raiser, THE Moneyman THEN I strongly suggest that You Do. THEN, You will understand what's going on & happening to Our Country, Our provinces, PEI & NS, Since that day in 1984 assisted by wealthy international monies Mulroney was arranged to be elected PM out of Nova Scotia. Peter/Elmer MacKay's Riding. Until You read these books, to actually learn exactly what Your government is, the politicians with their unelected "Associates" simply Laugh at You, while they laugh all the way to their Offshre & Lictinstein Bank accounts. Liberal-CONservative it make absolutely NO Difference. Government, the Elected are NOT about The People It's ALL about business, ( including biosceintific/medical/pharmacutical Research included.) Hospitals-Doctors involved in Research can do whatever the he!! they want-Odds are Your government protects themnothing's going to happen. Sad isn't it. Even sadder are soooo many ignorant-uninformed Canadians-Islanders And NS Bluenosers.

  • REally
    August 28, 2010 - 09:26

    How can you talk about lack of resources when the main concerns of islanders is reducing hospital staff and reducing the taxes that pay for the equipment?

  • Jill Macdonald
    August 28, 2010 - 04:53

    Do you have a family member who died at the QEH when you were not there? A lack of equipment, funding or compassion got you thinking of that loved one and whether or not everything was done properly? It has me thinking...

    • AngryinPEI
      August 28, 2010 - 09:54

      The RCMP should be investigating this. The QEH head administrator is responsible for her inept, poorly trained staff that also let Mrs. Handrahan miscarry in public. Maybe some charges should be laid against the captain of that leaking ship.

  • SH
    August 27, 2010 - 19:27

    My sympathies are with the Joneses; hopefully with their coming forward with this story, as well as the previous articles about the miscarriage case, will help bring much-needed change to this hospital.

  • From Beautiful PEI
    August 27, 2010 - 15:25

    This story is so sad a young women in the prime of her life I hope her family gets to the bottom of this as there is no need of this been dragged out for so long.Just terrible!!!!!!!!!!!My heart aches for them..