2-year-old death in hallway of Ajax-Pickering hospital to be investigated

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Published December 8, 2022 at 2:22 pm

The Ontario Coroner’s Office is set to investigate the sudden death of a child in an Ajax-Pickering hospital.

News of the child’s death first spread across social media over the last few days. The Coroner’s Office confirmed the death on December 8 with the announcement of their investigation.

Typically, deaths in hospitals do not require a corner’s inquest as the manner of death is often recorded. However, as in this case, the coroner’s office is brought in whenever death occurs “suddenly and unexpectedly.”

Few details have been confirmed so far, but the original Facebook post claimed the child coded in the hallway while waiting for care.

The “coded” expression refers to a Code Blue announcement used when a patient enters a cardiopulmonary arrest. It’s the signal for an emergency response team to come to resuscitate the patient.

Ontario’s Health Minister Sylvia Jones commented on the death in a press conference this morning, but did not provide additional information about the death.

“I cannot imagine how challenging this must be for the caregivers, the family of that patient,” she said, “I will let the investigation and the hospital do the work they need to do to communicate with that family.”

“I don’t think any of us can comprehend how deeply saddened we are to hear about the death of a young patient,” she continued.

Jones tried to reassure parents who may now be concerned about taking their kids to hospital to “absolutely” take them to the emergency room if they need to. She went on to credit hospitals for their “unprecedented” cooperation between the community and pediatric hospitals.

“There is no doubt that it’s very challenging as a healthcare practitioner to see young patients, to see a rise in whether it’s the flu or RSV, COVID-19, experiencing that surge in a hospital,” she told healthcare workers who have lost faith in her handling of the portfolio, “but I really want to re-enforce that these are incredibly dedicated, incredibly talented, educated who have stepped up.”

Jones denied the existence of a staffing crisis in Ontario’s hospitals, saying their program to rush certifications for foreign nurses has led to a large increase of workers in the field.

However, a 2022 StatsCan report found a 90 per cent rise in vacant roles. This is expected to greatly worsen over the next three years, with nearly a quarter of nurses planning to leave their jobs in that time.

Other roles in the system are also set to see increased strain, though not as badly as nursing, with 16 per cent of PSWs and 11 per cent of doctors looking to quit as well.

The next step in the Coroner’s investigation often entails an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

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