04/26/2013 04:26 EDT | Updated 06/26/2013 05:12 EDT

We Didn't Kill Rita MacNeil, Says Health Authority

Beloved Canadian singer Rita MacNeil did not die from a hospital-acquired infection, the Cape Breton District Health Authority said in response to a now-corrected article published in the Globe and Mail newspaper on Friday.

The 68-year-old singer died last week following complications from surgery after a recurring infection.

On Friday morning, Globe and Mail health reporter André Picard wrote an article entitled “Rita MacNeil’s death should make us angry,” in which he said the singer contracted an infection in the hospital days before her death.

The article has since been corrected.

Picard wrote that the precise cause of death is not known.

During MacNeil’s stay part of the hospital was closed because of a Norwalk virus outbreak, Picard wrote. He also noted the health authority’s 2011 Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)outbreak that killed 11 people.

“As strong as Ms. MacNeil was, she couldn’t survive routine, minor surgery in a Canadian hospital. That realization should give us all a sickening feeling in the pit of our stomachs,” Picard wrote.

He said people should be angry, and demand safer and cleaner hospitals.

In a release, the Cape Breton District Health Authority said it cannot violate patient confidentiality but said the article was incorrect.

"If things don't go right, we're committed to making sure they do go right. I feel very comfortable if my 86-year-old father or my 15-year-old daughter was sick, that if they came here they will receive safe and compassionate, quality care," said Andrew Lynk, the authority's vice-president of medicine.

MacNeil's family is not commenting. The health authority said the family has asked the matter be kept private.

The CBC flagship investigative program the fifth estate gave the Cape Breton Regional Hospital a D rating for its record on post-surgery mortality.

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