Child welfare agency points finger at Sioux Lookout hospital over suicide of First Nation teen - APTN NewsAPTN News

Child welfare agency points finger at Sioux Lookout hospital over suicide of First Nation teen

Kenneth Jackson, Todd Lamirande
Nation to Nation
Nation to Nation has an exclusive update in the $5.9 million lawsuit filed over the death of Kanina Sue Turtle, 15, who filmed her suicide in a Sioux Lookout, Ont. foster home.

A third-party claim has been filed against the Sioux Lookout Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre and what appears to be every doctor, nurse or counsellor that treated Turtle in the days leading up to her death Oct. 29, 2016.

The claim was filed last week by Tikinagan Child and Family Services.

“Tikinagan pleads that Kanina’s untimely death and its resulting damages were the result of the joint and/or several negligence of the Third Parties,” Tikinagan alleges.

The Turtle family first sued Tikinagan back in September alleging her “wrongful” death could have been prevented in part because she was left alone in her room for 46 minutes before anyone checked on her.

That foster home is owned and operated by Tikinagan.

The third party claim now draws in nearly everyone that had contact with Turtle before she died. The Meno-Ya-Win hospital has not responded to a request for comment from Nation to Nation.

The claim also allows the judge, if Tikinagan is found to be liable, to spread out the damages among all parties.

Turtle’s condition was well-known to everyone in contact with her in the weeks leading up to her death. She was struggling with suicidal thoughts and severe self-harming.

Tikinagan’s claim lists all the times it took Turtle to Meno-Ya-Win, which it alleges failed to ensure Turtle received “appropriate assessment and treatment by a qualified psychiatrist.”

There’s a long list of alleged negligence in the claim.

“(Meno-Ya-Win) failed to provide suicide counselling services and therapeutic counselling in a timely fashion which were appropriate to Kanina, who they knew was at risk of suicide and self-harm,” Tikinagan alleges.

It goes on the say staff were “insufficiently trained or incompetent”.

The claim also alleges Turtle was under 24-hour watch for approximately 48 hours, two days before her death which was not previously known, at least publicly.

Tikinagan alleges Turtle was last assessed Oct. 27 by a doctor at Meno-Ya-Win and “no further continued one-on-one supervision was ordered.”

The next day Turtle ran away with her girlfriend and didn’t return until the morning of Oct. 29.

She died hours later when Tikinagan says its worker in the home was making Turtle dinner. They allege the worker was gone for just over 30 minutes. The video shows it was over 46 minutes.

Tikinagan also takes aim at the Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority, particularly a counsellor that was supposed to be treating Turtle before she died.

APTN previously reported that Turtle missed every appointment with the counsellor, Violet Tuesday, in the five days before her death. Tuesday made notes, which were obtained by APTN, that detail her difficulty reaching Tikinagan because Turtle wasn’t attending appointments.

Tikinagan’s claim doesn’t mention this. It does say they showed up for one appointment on Oct. 26, however the counsellor was late and couldn’t meet with Turtle.

The health authority didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Nation to Nation also speaks to the chief of a Pictou Landing First Nation who appeared before a Senate committee early this week that is studying how energy projects are approved.

“It is important to have that dialogue with Indigenous people. And especially if there’s gonna be an industry that’s going to have an impact,” Chief Andrea Paul said.

As well, we have the latest from a First Nation entrepreneur who is trying to turn coffee into clean drinking water on First Nations across Canada.

Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow said Birch Bark Coffee Company is taking off but what he started is turning out to be about a lot more than just water.

kjackson@aptn.ca


The Canada Suicide Prevention Service enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support using the technology of their choice (phone, text or chat), in French or English:

Phone: toll-free 1-833-456-4566
Text: 45645

Chat: crisisservicescanada.ca


Watch the full episode of Nation To Nation here:


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