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David Silver, 78 dies after discharge from hospital

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David_SilverA Winnipeg senior who died on his front walk after being discharged from the Grace Hospital, Winnipeg emergency room in minus 40 weather, wearing slippers, pyjama bottoms and a coat.

David Silver, 78, died Dec. 31 after being dropped off by a cab at about 1:30 a.m. He’d just been discharged from the ER, diagnosed with kidney stones and gallstones and told to see his family doctor, but he suffered a heart attack seconds after the cab pulled away. He wasn’t found until much later that day, when his housekeeper discovered him lying a short distance from his front door in frigid temperatures.

Silver’s death has shocked his family and triggered an investigation by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Silver’s family is asking for new discharge practices to make sure frail, elderly or disabled patients make it home safely after visiting an emergency room.

“It’s a systemic problem,” said Miles Pollock, Silver’s nephew. “It’s the middle of the night. It’s minus 40. He’s an old man who’s sick. He’s not dressed to be outside, and a) you send him home and b) you send him home unaccompanied in a taxi.”

Lori Lamont, vice-president and chief nursing officer with the WRHA, said the health authority has launched an investigation into the treatment Silver received at the Grace, the circumstances around the discharge and exactly what happened once he arrived home. It could be several more days until the WRHA has the results of the investigation, which could be elevated to a formal critical incident.

“We’re very concerned for Mr. Silver and certainly feel badly for the loss,” she said. “The circumstances make the family’s loss even more distressing, when they happen in an unusual way.”

Pollock said his 87-year-old mother — Silver’s older sister — is beside herself.

“It makes her crazy to think he was lying outside for 12 to 13 hours,” said Pollock.

Adapted from Winnipeg Free Press

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