This Winnipeg family was told their loved one was dying, but then saw it wasn’t them at the hospital

A Winnipeg family was told their loved one was on life support and would not make it through the night, then found out she was not in hospital, says the woman's sister, Bianca Beauregard.  (Fernand Detillieux/CBC - photo credit)

A Winnipeg family was told their loved one was on life support and would not make it through the night, then found out she was not in hospital, says the woman’s sister, Bianca Beauregard. (Fernand Detillieux/CBC – photo credit)

When Bianca Beauregard received a call last Friday that her sister was in a Winnipeg hospital after an overdose and was not expected to survive, she said she was in hysterics.

But hours later, after family members — including another of the woman’s sisters and the woman’s 12-year-old daughter — visited the Health Sciences Center to say goodbye, they discovered the woman on life support wasn’t her loved one.

“My sister, she said goodbye and my family was in there praying and she went to hold my sister’s hand and [the woman] didn’t have any of the same tattoos as my sister,” said Beauregard, who lives in Lethbridge, Alta. Beauregard said she received a number of calls from the hospital that day because she was her sister’s next of kin.

She said her family then started showing pictures of the hospital staff to prove the patient wasn’t who they thought he was. Beauregard listened over the phone as the situation unfolded, she said.

“I could hear them in the background and they sounded panicked. HSC sounded panicky.”



Beauregard now asks how this came about in the first place.

A spokesman for Shared Health said in an email they “regret that this error has caused pain to both families involved.”

The employees were given a false name: Shared Health

The statement said when unconscious patients are brought to the emergency room, the majority of their identities are confirmed before they are admitted through identification documents or through information obtained from others prior to transport.

“This information will be provided to hospital staff upon arrival and will be used to contact next of kin,” the spokesman said. “We can confirm that in this unfortunate case, an incorrect patient name was provided to hospital staff.”

Shared Health said if a patient cannot be identified upon arrival, staff will reach out to “outside agencies” to help with identification.

Beauregard would like to see stricter protocols to ensure this doesn’t happen to any other family.

“I want the hospital to be held accountable for its actions,” Beauregard said.

She said her family were told the woman arrived at the hospital around 5am and that the person who called the ambulance identified the patient as her sister.

“They just went out of the person who called 911,” Beauregard said.

“I was relieved it wasn’t my sister, but I’m still … upset and I’m still angry because I was devastated. We were all devastated. Her daughter was in the room thinking her mother was going to spend the night.”

The 12-year-old thought her mother was dying

Nagasi Michell said while he is no longer with Beauregard’s sister, they share a 12-year-old daughter. He was also contacted by a social worker Friday afternoon, he said.

“I kind of prepared myself to tell my daughter because I knew she was going to get crushed,” Michell said.

He was in the hospital with his daughter when the mistaken identity was discovered. He said his daughter was confused.

“It just felt really surreal the way it all happened,” he said. “My daughter was devastated and then [to] Finding out it wasn’t her was such a relief, but at the same time I don’t like that she had to go through all of this.

Michell said that while he thought the woman just sort of looked like his former partner, he didn’t initially question her identity because he felt that after everything she’d been through medically, she wasn’t allowed to look like herself.

He said neither he nor his daughter had seen their mother recently.

Beauregard’s family managed to get in touch with her sister over the weekend and they now know she is fine.

“We’re relieved my sister is still here with us,” she said, but she felt terrible for the other woman’s family.


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