The CEO of Eastern Health apologized last night for the death of a young patient on the TCH near St. John’s on Monday.
Vickie Kaminski made the comments during her address to the board of trustees at Eastern Health’s annual general meeting.
The health authority has started an investigation into the incident and, until that process is completed, Kaminski told reporters she will have little else to say on the matter.
“We have been fairly quiet about doing interviews on the issue. But felt given the audience here tonight we should at least take the opportunity to say how much we apologize and how much we are sorry, and offer our condolences to everyone involved,” she said.
Whenever there is a major situation like this one, it’s common for Eastern Health to implement a quality review team, she added, and that process has already begun.
That team will review the incident and could make recommendations if it finds a particular policy that’s lacking. In this case, it will look at policies related to the transportation of patients.
Kaminski estimated it will take at least two weeks to do a thorough investigation.
Until then, Eastern Health will stay silent on the matter other than to offer its condolences to the victim’s family.
“You can never have a tragedy like this and not feel very, very sorry for everyone that’s been involved. It’s a tragic circumstance,” she said.
That tragedy unfolded on the TCH early Monday morning.
A 19-year-old man from Port Rexton was hit by a truck a little more than a kilometre east of the Foxtrap Access Road.
Very little information has been released by official sources regarding the crash, but there is a basic timeline available.
Local RCMP officers in Port Rexton responded to a house call Sunday evening and escorted the 19-year old to Clarenville Hospital.
A few hours later, now Monday, the patient was sent to a St. John’s hospital via an ambulance. Something happened in the ambulance along the way that caused the driver to pull over, and the patient fled the vehicle. He ran off into the woods.
The ambulance crew called 911 and requested help from police in locating him.
The RNC responded to the call.
Responsibility for that section of highway is shared between the RNC and the RCMP. If there’s a traffic-related incident on the road the call goes to the RCMP. Otherwise, the RNC is called.
RNC officers say they spent nearly an hour and a half looking for the man, despite there being several calls to 911 reporting a man walking on the highway.
The final 911 call was received at 2:12 a.m. — it was a report of the fatal collision.
The RNC responded to the call but the scene was later turned over to the RCMP, which is now conducting the crash investigation.
There was no further information provided on Tuesday by the RCMP. Its investigation is ongoing.