Pubdate: Wed, 07 Dec 2016
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2016 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: D.C. Fraser
Page: A1


She should have been on medical watch.

The death of a young woman at a Regina remand unit has led to more
supervision and medical staff at the facility.

Breanna Kannick, 21, was being held at the White Birch Remand Centre
in August 2015 when she died after going into what the Ministry of
Justice at the time called "medical distress."

An investigation into that death, according to government officials,
has resulted in about $400,000 in added funding to increase nursing
staff and pay for a doctor to be on site.

"We did a review of our operations there after a death (in the summer
of 2015) that occurred at the White Birch Remand Unit," said Drew
Wilby, executive director of corporate affairs for the Justice Ministry.

"Part of that review indicated that we needed a more significant
presence of medical personnel at the facility."

How Kannick died remains unclear. A mandatory coroner's inquest is not
expected until sometime in 2017.

An internal government review of the death is complete - and the
increased medical staff stems from recommendations made in that report
- - but the report itself is not being made public at this time.
"Unfortunately, I'm limited a little bit about what I can talk about
in accordance with the review, but I can confirm these additions came
out of that review work that was done," said Wilby, who is not
releasing the internal report at the request of the coroner's office.

Kannick's family, who have retained the services of a lawyer, alleged
at the time of Breanna's death that she was suffering from drug
withdrawal and staff ignored her medical needs.

"(Breanna) told me that she was feeling sick - like dope sick I would
imagine. She should have been on medical watch," Sherri Chartrand,
Kannick's mother, said at the time.

Chartrand told reporters after her daughter's death she had heard from
others who were on remand with Kannick, who allege guards poked fun at
the young woman's condition, calling her "pukey."

Wilby said Tuesday the nurses have been working two eight-hour shifts
each day of the week since April and the doctor will make regular
visits as needed to White Birch, starting sometime in the next two

There are additional changes and recommendations resulting from the
government's review into Kannick's death, but what they are is unknown.

"Due to the nature of the coroner's inquest that's pending into the
matter, I can't speak specifically to those details," said Wilby.

Information about the nurses and doctor at White Birch came to light
only because it was mentioned at a provincial committee meeting, after
prompting from NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer.

She said Tuesday she was happy to see better health-care access for
White Birch inmates and the province implementing recommendations.

"At the same time, it would be good to know what the entirety of the
report was, so we can ensure all the steps are being taken to make
sure another inmate doesn't have to die," she said, adding getting
piecemeal information about Kannick's death and the recommendations
stemming from the report, makes it hard to keep the pressure on
government to enforce its recommendations.

"It's important to remember we're not talking about an inmate, we're
talking about someone's daughter," she said, adding it is important to
have transparency on what the government is doing and the
circumstances leading up to Kannick's death.
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