Here’s a tragic story from Cape Dorset, which is in Nunavut, a territory in Canada’s far north. Cape Dorset is a town of just 1300 people.
A nurse the Nunavut government promoted to a top nursing job after nearly 20 complaints were filed against her has admitted to a number of the allegations, CBC News has learned.
Among the most egregious complaints against Debbie McKeown was that she refused to see a three-month-old Cape Dorset boy, Makibi Timilak, when his mother phoned her one evening in early 2012 saying the child was ill and needed attention. The boy died hours later.
Nunavut rules dictate that nurses on call in the evening must open the health centre to see an infant under the age of one who might be ill.
A CBC News investigation found that territorial government employees admitted in emails that they put the hamlet of Cape Dorset “at risk” by mishandling complaints against McKeown. She was promoted to the top nursing post in the community despite conditions on her licence preventing her from treating children. ….
It’s hard not to see the connection with the scale of healthcare operations in a wee hamlet like Cape Dorset. Yes, obviously services are bound to be limited. But consider also that in a larger place, at a larger clinic in a larger town, there would likely be much more going on in terms of formal and informal peer review and oversight.