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Family of woman who died in Amherst ER suing Nova Scotia Health

The family of a woman who died in an emergency room in Amherst, N.S., is suing the province’s health authority.

Allison Holthoff died on Dec. 31 after waiting more than seven hours to see a doctor at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

“Somebody has to take some accountability for what happened, somebody needs to be responsible,” Gunter Holthoff, Allison’s husband, told CBC News in an interview Wednesday.

The statement of claim alleges Nova Scotia Health and the attending physician failed to meet the standard of care for a patient.

“We allege that had they done their job, treated her in the urgent fashion which was consistent with her condition, what her condition demanded, that she would still be here today and that her children would still have their mother,” Mike Dull, the lawyer representing the family, said in an interview.

The family alleges the health authority and the emergency physician on duty didn’t test and treat Holthoff in an adequate and timely manner.

The statement of claim alleges the mother of three died about eight hours after she was triaged by nurses for complications associated with an untreated splenic artery aneurysm.

It said the physician “failed to consider a possible splenic artery aneurysm as being causative of the deceased’s symptoms and order appropriate imaging tests.”

The allegations have not been tested in court.

family of woman who died in amherst er suing nova scotia health

Family of woman who died in Amherst ER suing Nova Scotia Health

10 hours ago

Duration 1:34

Allison Holthoff, 37, died after waiting hours to see doctor at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. Her husband says somebody has to take accountability for what happened.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia Health told CBC News it does not comment on legal matters.

In January, Health Minister Michelle Thompson announced that an investigation, also known as a “quality review,” had started automatically after Allison’s death. At the time she said it would determine what happened and what can be done to prevent similar situations from happening again.

Holthoff said he thinks it is problematic not to use a third party to conduct the investigation.

“I don’t have faith in Nova Scotia Health investigating themselves,” he said.

Holthoff said he hopes no other family experiences what his did, but he knows that what he wants the most is not possible.

“The only thing I want — which I know I can’t get — is my wife back. So, as far as that goes, this lawsuit is not going to get me anywhere with that and nothing ever will.”


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