POLITICS

No onus on cab drivers to see discharged patients into homes: health minister

01/13/2014 05:50 EST | Updated 03/15/2014 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - Manitoba’s health minister says it's not up to cab drivers to make sure discharged patients sent home in taxis get through their front doors safely.

But Erin Selby says drivers should keep a watchful eye on people as a common courtesy.

Selby had said last week that it would be mandatory for cab drivers to ensure patients made it into their homes.

Two men died on their doorsteps recently after they were discharged from Grace Hospital in Winnipeg.

Selby says the onus is always on medical professionals to make sure patients are ready to be sent home.

The health minister also says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority should re-examine its discharge guidelines.

“No one expects cab drivers to make medical decisions,” she said Monday.

Taxi drivers had already said it was not fair to make them responsible for discharged patients.

One of the men who died was 78-year-old David Silver. He was found frozen on his doorstep about 14 hours after he had been sent home from hospital in the middle of the night. Relatives have said an autopsy found his death was due to a heart condition.

The other patient was spotted on a sidewalk by a passing driver who called 911. The patient was dead — apparently from a pre-existing condition — when emergency officials arrived.

Almost a year ago, Heather Brenan, 68, was discharged from Seven Oaks Hospital and sent home in a taxi. She collapsed on her doorstep and was rushed back to hospital, where she died from a blood clot that had travelled to her lungs. An inquest has been called into that death.

The health region has said it is reviewing its discharge policy.

(CJOB, The Canadian Press)