Nunavut calls inquest into three-month-old baby's death

IQALUIT, Nunavut -- Nunavut has called an inquest into the murky circumstances surrounding the death of a three-month-old boy in a remote Arctic community.

See Full Article

The probe into the 2012 death of Makibi Timilak could reveal more about a health system that has been heavily criticized in a previous review into the tragedy.

Although it was ultimately determined the baby died of sudden infant death syndrome, the review found that nurses and health officials failed to follow procedures the night the baby died. It concluded the death was hushed up and found a climate of fear within the health department that prevented problems from being addressed.

On the night of April 4, 2012, Makibi's mother Neevee Akesuk called the health centre in Cape Dorset on the southern tip of Baffin Island to say her baby wouldn't settle and go to sleep. She was advised to bathe Makibi and bring him in the next morning.

Akesuk did so and Makibi appeared to fall peacefully asleep. Several hours later he was rushed unconscious to the health centre and could not be revived.

Questions were raised about the death and the Nunavut government eventually called an external review into it.

That review found the on-duty nurse mishandled Akesuk's original call. All children less than a year old with health problems are supposed to be assessed in person, which wasn't done.

The death was not reported as a critical incident and no investigation was conducted.

The review found health centre staff and department officials glossed over the death and seemed more concerned about protecting themselves than fixing problems. It concluded Cape Dorset's health centre was a troubled workplace long before baby Makibi's death, where bullying prevented concerns from being voiced.

Health department officials didn't help. Written grievances were ignored.

The nurse at the centre of the bullying complaints was the one on duty the night Akesuk called about her son. Her nursing licence was subsequently restricted to prohibit her from treating children younger than 10.

Despite that, she was promoted to supervisor of the centre, where most of the care involves young children.

The review warned problems at Cape Dorset's health centre could be widespread.

"A culture of fear has developed within the government of Nunavut, from the very base of employees and work environments through the hierarchical ladder of authority ... There were a number of instances where health-care workers did not want to be identified when speaking with me for fear of repercussions to their employment," the reviewer wrote.

"It is likely that the experience of both nurses and patients at the Cape Dorset Health Centre is not exclusive to that community."

Some Nunavut politicians raised similar points.

The news that an inquest will beheld comes days after Makibi's parents filed an official request for one. Justice Minister Paul Okalik had promised to call an inquest if they asked.

A date for the inquest has not been announced. It is expected to take place in Cape Dorset.

-- By Bob Weber in Edmonton.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Judges in Alta. custody case ordered boy not to wear girls clothes in public

    Canada News CTV News
    MEDICINE HAT, Alta. -- A gender identity expert says judges need more education after two Alberta family court judges ruled a child born a boy can't wear girls clothes in public. Kris Wells, with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, says the case shows some judges need their attitudes challenged and corrected. Source
  • Liberals to bring Yazidi survivors of ISIS genocide to Canada within 4 months

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government is committing to take urgent steps to bring Yazidi refugees to Canada within four months. Immigration, Refugees and CItizenship Minister John McCallum announced during question period today that Liberals will support a wide-ranging motion from the Opposition Conservatives to help survivors of ISIS genocide. Source
  • Dog trapped in well for almost a month showing strong will to live: vet school

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A chocolate Labrador retriever trapped in a well for almost a month is responding to special care from animal medical clinicians and a nutritionist. Seven-year-old Bruno is listed as stable in the intensive care unit at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. Source
  • Alberta taps climate change fund to help farmers reduce CO2 emissions

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta is tapping into its industrial carbon levy fund to help the farm sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The province says it will spend $10 million to expand existing programs that encourage producers to use energy efficient equipment and solar power. Source
  • Woman dies after allegedly throwing herself onto highway to escape abusive husband

    World News Toronto Sun
    An Oklahoma mother of five hurled herself out of a moving car allegedly to escape her abusive husband, friends say. Brianne King, 33, was riding in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle being driven by her husband Michael Muller, when police suspect she opened the vehicle door and threw herself onto a busy highway last Tuesday, according to local station KFOR-TV. Source
  • Why one piece of evidence mattered so much in Dennis Oland murder case

    Canada News CTV News
    From the earliest days in Dennis Oland's murder trial, the Crown faced an uphill battle to convince jurors that a precarious balance of circumstantial evidence added up to a guilty verdict. Nonetheless, in December jurors found the member of the clan that owns Moosehead Breweries guilty of the second-degree murder of his father, as family members wept loudly in the Saint John courtroom. Source
  • Teens arrested after students beaten, horse punched at Philadelphia university

    World News CTV News
    Philadelphia police say they've arrested four teens on assault charges in flash mob attacks around Temple University in which college students were beaten, an officer was knocked down and a police horse was punched in the face. Source
  • Protesters occupying Muskrat Falls site putting themselves at risk: Nalcor

    Canada News CTV News
    MUSKRAT FALLS, N.L. -- The Crown corporation in charge of the Muskrat Falls megaproject says it is worried about the safety of protesters who broke into the sprawling construction site on the weekend. Stan Marshall, CEO of Nalcor Energy, issued a statement today saying about 50 protesters entered the Labrador site Saturday and occupied an accommodation complex, prompting the company to remove about 700 workers from the grounds. Source
  • South African opposition says ICC withdrawal is illegal

    World News CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's main opposition party on Monday tried to block a government plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, saying the move is illegal and that the country's top court should intervene. Source
  • Suspect in Oklahoma cop shooting posts taunting video online

    World News Toronto Sun
    OKLAHOMA CITY - Authorities are hunting for a man suspected of killing his aunt and uncle, shooting two police officers, stealing a patrol car and carjacking other vehicles in a violent rampage in the Oklahoma City area, all while apparently taunting law enforcement via social media. Source