Investigation into death of retired doctor in RIH ER finds staff followed all protocols

By on April 10, 2017
On March 12 in the ER waiting room at Royal Inland Hospital, retired doctor Rajindar Joneja (left) died in the arms of wife Janice (right). Joneja family photo

By: Dale Bass (Kamloops This Week)

An internal investigation of the circumstances that saw retired doctor Rajindar Joneja die in the emergency department waiting room at Royal Inland Hospital last month found all protocols were followed.

However, said Chris Mazurkewich, chief executive officer for the Interior Health Authority, one staff member involved in the incident had to take a stress leave, the result of online comments made on various social media sites that included the story of Joneja’s death.

Mazurkewich said the appropriate protocols were followed.

Triage nurses must follow established guidelines on a standardized scale to assess symptoms and their urgency as they decide how to stream patients in the ER.

Joneja, who would have been 83 on March 23, died on March 12 after his wife, Janice, took him to the RIH ER in pain and great distress. He had a history of congestive heart failure and survived cancer.

While at the ER, Joneja’s blood pressure was checked and he was given two aspirin and sent to the waiting room, where he died a few minutes later, sitting in a wheelchair as his wife held him.

Mazurkewich said representatives from the health authority met with Janice earlier this week to discuss the review. He declined to discuss the meeting, at which the investigation results were discussed.

Staff on duty during the incident were also called to a meeting to deal with the investigation’s results, learning no fault was found with their actions.

Mazurkewich acknowledged the trauma Joneja’s family and friends have felt from his death, expressing condolences from IHA.

“It’s hard when those things happen,” he said.

Compounding the situation for his staff were comments made by people with no knowledge of the situation, he said. He said nurses and doctors at RIH involved with Joneja’s visit and death “were significantly impacted by those comments,” including one employee who took a leave of absence because of comments made.

One Comment

  1. Bill Gray

    April 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Obviously “Standard Protocols” do not work. A great man perished and this is what we get from IH Shame, Shame

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