Concerns of parents grow after patient dies at Restigouche Hospital Centre
Demands for change at the main mental health facility in New Brunswick are growing more urgent following a death there on the weekend.
The patient died just days after disturbing criticism of the Restigouche Hospital Centre by the province's ombudsman.
“This absolutely raises our alarm levels to a very extreme point where the worry and anxieties are through the roof,” said Reid Smith, one of two fathers whose sons are patients at the facility and are speaking out to voice their concerns.
They have a lot in common, but it's a heightened concern for their sons’ well-being that's brought them together.
The death hits too close to home - as both have sons who have been patients there for years.
“While we don't know the circumstances surrounding it, this should put a spotlight on it immediately,” said Darrell Tidd another father of a patient at the hospital. “There's an emergency need at that centre.”
Smith and Tidd, who have spent many years navigating the mental health system, say Restigouche is only part of the problem
“I think the province needs to kick in, needs to act immediately to assist in ramping up the resources available to Restigouche, to be able to hire more staff,” Smith said.
In a statement released yesterday, Health Minister Ted Flemming said there is increased focus on the hospital given the issues found by the ombud.
For now, both fathers say they want the families of other patients at Restigouche to take an active role in their treatment plan.
“I've been fighting this battle to get my son help ever since he's been in elementary school and it's been a fight the whole way,” Tidd said. “It shouldn't be a fight; the system needs to change.”
The province has promised a response within 90 days of receiving the ombud's report which they saw for the first time last Thursday.
Vitalite Health Network says an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause and circumstances surrounding the death of this patient over the weekend. The province says the RCMP are looking into this, as is the coroner.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.