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Manitoba judge calls for review of health care at remand centre following death


WINNIPEG — A Manitoba judge is calling for an independent review of health services at the Winnipeg Remand Centre following an inquest into the death of an epileptic inmate who had not been given anti-seizure medication.

Provincial court Judge Heather Pullan also wants the province to transfer responsibility for inmate care at all provincial jails from the Justice Department to the Health Department, and to train nurses and guards on how to deal with people with seizures.

Pullan made the recommendations after hearing evidence about the death of Errol Greene.

Greene, 26, had been arrested for breaching a bail order not to drink alcohol. He was brought to the remand centre on April 30, 2016, to await a bail hearing. He notified staff he used valporic acid to control his epilepsy.

It was a Saturday. No doctor was scheduled to visit the centre, which serves as a temporary holding facility for close to 300 inmates, until Monday.

The next day, Greene was on the phone with his partner, Rochelle Pranteau, who told the inquest Greene complained about not being given medication. He started having a seizure during that call and collapsed.

A second seizure followed an hour later. Greene was restrained by staff and became unresponsive. He was taken to hospital and died a few hours later.

“Had Mr. Greene been given valporic acid in the 48 hours prior to his death, he likely would have had a higher blood level than the 6.9-micrograms at autopsy, and be better protected from seizure,” Pullan wrote in her report released Tuesday.

A nurse at the centre dealt with Greene shortly after his arrival but was a new employee and did not have access to the prescription drug database that would have confirmed his medication, the inquest report said.

A second nurse who later dealt with Greene did not give him valporic acid, partly because she did not know what else he may have consumed.

Corey Shefman, the lawyer who represents Greene’s widow, said he welcomed the report.

“For a person living with epilepsy, having access to their anti-seizure medications is crucial. And so them having not given it to him exposes a number of really serious problems with health services in corrections,” Shefman said.

Pullan also said the province should bolster recruitment and retention of nurses to address staff shortages and reduce the number of times nurses work alone.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the government has set up a team of senior officials to review the recommendations, and has already taken steps to improve care at the remand centre.

“These improvements include ensuring that a physician is scheduled to attend the remand centre every day,” Cullen said.

“We have also improved record-keeping and file storage at the facility to ensure that health information is meticulously recorded.”

Greene was one of five people who died at the remand centre in 2016 — the highest annual number in recent years.

Among the others was Russell Spence, who struggled with guards while being processed. A pathologist attributed the death to cardiac arrhythmia combined with the effects of methamphetamine.

Robert McAdam, 53, also died in custody. His family told the Winnipeg Free Press McAdam committed suicide after years of alcohol abuse.



Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Greene had been arrested for breaching a probation order.


Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task



Man with sad face drawing.

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

Duane (not his real name) shared, “I have dealt with my depression on my own for over 15 years, with the aid of anti-depressant drugs. I wasn’t even aware of the anxiety issues until they were pointed out to me just last year. Approximately 4 years ago I did seek therapy during one particularly low period in my mood. I carried on until April of last year when I had a suicide attempt that showed me I need additional help from outside resources including Mental Health, Red Deer PCN, and my company EFAP. Seeing how my suicide attempt impacted my immediately family was my impetus to get additional help.

I took the Red Deer PCN Happiness Basics program. I believe the course helped me to see that I have to make a daily practice of the skills I have been taught. I can’t just try and apply them when I’m feeling down. By doing this I have levelled off my moods; I am not walking on air but I seem to be avoiding the deep depressive periods I had in the past. I am thankful for this change in my daily life.

For anyone else struggling with depression, I would suggest they attend the Red Deer PCN groups and actively participate. Very good tools are provided but they are of no use if not implemented in your daily life. I will continue with one on one therapy. I am now taking the Anxiety to Calm group and I will apply the skills I learn every day!  I also will continue the medications prescribed by my psychiatrist.”

Always remember achieving mental health is an everyday task!

About the Red Deer Primary Care Network

We (RDPCN) are a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacist work in clinics alongside family doctors.

In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.


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Alberta going after opioid manufacturers and distributors in class action lawsuit!



Alberta health minister

Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer announce Alberta will support B.C.’s proposed class action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

From the Province of Alberta

Alberta supports opioid class action lawsuit

Alberta will participate in the proposed class action, filed in B.C., to recoup costs of opioids from opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The action is brought on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments and agencies that have paid health-care, pharmaceutical and treatment costs related to opioids from 1996 to the present.

In 2018, there were almost 800 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 4,200 calls to emergency services in Alberta.

“Responding to opioid overdoses has taken a tremendous toll on our families and communities, as well as adding to the demands on our health system. Our government will do our part to hold to account those who bear some responsibility for the wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths we’re seeing.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Albertans have paid a high price for the irresponsible actions of opioid manufacturers and distributors. While we cannot bring back those we have lost, we can recover some of the enormous financial costs Albertans have paid and continue to pay. And we’ll take a balanced approach going forward, including more access to treatment and recovery services for people with addiction.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Our government is committed to ensuring our communities are safe, secure and protected. All Albertans have seen the terrible toll that opioid addiction has inflicted on our province and the individuals and families who suffer from the misery they create. Alberta will support the proposed national class action to hold manufacturers and distributors of opioids accountable for their role in the ongoing addiction crisis in Alberta and across Canada.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Alberta’s action on opioids

The Alberta government is working to improve access to treatment and recovery services for Albertans dealing with addiction and their loved ones. These actions include:

  • Committing $140 million to improving mental health and addiction care in the province, including $40 million specifically for opioid response.
  • Creating 4,000 more publicly funded treatment spaces so more Albertans can access life-saving addiction treatment.

The Alberta government is developing legislation similar to B.C.’s Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, which allows that province to recover health-care costs on an aggregate, rather than an individual, basis using population-based evidence.

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october, 2019

tue15oct(oct 15)8:22 pmmon28(oct 28)8:22 pmQuest for Gratitude 5 Day Challenge8:22 pm - 8:22 pm (28)

fri25oct6:00 pm9:00 pmRed Deer River Naturalists Banquet/Speaker Night6:00 pm - 9:00 pm MST Event Organized By: Red Deer River Naturalists

sat26oct10:00 am12:00 pmRed Deer River Naturalists Bird Focus Group Walk10:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Maskepetoon Park Event Organized By: Red Deer River Naturalists

tue29oct(oct 29)1:00 amsun03nov(nov 3)1:00 amCanadian Finals Rodeo1:00 am - (november 3) 1:00 am Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street