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End nears for lengthy inquest into Sinclair's death

Brian Sinclair

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Brian Sinclair

The end of witness testimony is in sight for the inquest looking into the death of Brian Sinclair, which resumes today.

It has heard from 79 witnesses during off-and-on hearings stretched over 10 months and will hear this week from its two last witnesses before closing arguments.

At the end of this week, provincial court Judge Tim Preston will close this stage of the inquest and begin an anticipated several months of writing his final report with recommendations.

It likely means when the report comes out, more than six years will have gone by since Sinclair died.

Before that happens, Dr. Grant Innes, a professor at the University of Calgary who is an expert in managing delays in emergency rooms as well as overcrowding and flow-through, will testify today, followed the next day by an aboriginal health expert.

The Sinclair family has long hoped for answers to the question of how medical staff at the Health Sciences Centre emergency room could have missed and ignored the 45-year-old man, a double amputee who used a wheelchair to get around, during the 34 hours he sat in the waiting room for treatment that never came on Sept. 21, 2008.

A coroner told the inquest Sinclair could have died up to seven hours before he was discovered unconscious. Emergency room medical staff attempted to revive him but stopped when they realized he had been dead so long rigor mortis was beginning to set in.

For several weeks, there has been no input from the Sinclair family because they ordered the lawyers who were representing them to pull out of the inquest after the judge made an order restricting the areas the hearings would delve into and not explore aboriginal marginalization in the health-care system. It's the same reason given by lawyers for Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and Ka Ni Kanichihk, which also pulled out of the inquest.

The family has since repeated calls for a public inquiry into the matter, the same call made before the provincial government decided to call an inquest instead.

After the two witnesses have testified and been questioned, the rest of the week will see final arguments including from inquest counsel, lawyers for the WRHA, Health Sciences Centre, the Manitoba Nurses Union and the Sinclair family.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 9:27 AM CDT:
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