NWT Health Minister looking for Indigenous physician to conduct inquiry into death of Hugh Papik

NWT looking for Indigenous physicians to investigate death of Hugh Papik.

Iman Kassam
APTN National News
Northwest Territories Health Minister Glen Abernethy says he is looking for an Indigenous physician to conduct an external investigation into the death of Hugh Papik.

“The concerns about the impacts of racism in the health care system have received considerable attention across Canada in recent years,” Abernethy told APTN in an interview Wednesday. “And we know in the Northwest Territories that this is a real issue and that our system is not immune.”

The inquiry is called a critical incident investigation and is part of new legislation that went into effect Aug., 1.  The Legislation gives authority to the health minister to investigate any critical incident where there is a concern with the care that is being provided.

Abernethy couldn’t speak directly to the Papik case due to privacy laws, but he said the results of the investigation, including any recommendations, will be made public.

He could not give any details on how the investigation will be conducted, and no start date has been set.

Hugh Papik, 68, died after suffering a stroke at the government operated Joe Greenland seniors home.

According to his niece, Maggie Papik, nurses at the home believed the elder Papik was intoxicated.

She said when she arrived at the centre he was lying on the ground in a pool of urine.

Papik said once he was brought to the community health centre, the nurses also assumed he was drunk and didn’t treat him. She says they sat in the health

She said they sat in the health centre for more than six hours before he was medevaced to a larger health centre in Inuvik.

By that point, she says her uncle didn’t know his own name.

Papik was told by doctors that her uncle had too much swelling in his brain, and wasn’t going to make it. She then decided to take him off of life support.

Hugh Papik died on Aug., 15 at the health centre in Inuvik.

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