Inquest Into Hillary Hooper's Death IN NB Psychiatric Ward To Take Place March 2023

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Inquest Into Hillary Hooper's Death IN NB Psychiatric Ward To Take Place March 2023

The Office of the Chief Coroner has announced an inquest into the death of Hillary Hooper of St. George. Hooper, who was originally from Beaver Harbour, died by suicide while a patient in the psychiatric unit of the Saint John Regional Hospital on December 2, 2020. The news is a relief to Hooper's mother Patty Borthwick.

"When I first got the call from the coroner a couple months ago, I immediately cried and I was relieved that someone was going to help us because it has been such a long fight," said Borthwick.

Borthwick has been fighting tirelessly for answers for nearly two years, doing everything from organizing a petition for an independent investigation into Horizon Health Network to filing requests under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act to meeting with the Premier. Her work has paid off. 

"Maybe we can find out what really happened so that we can make sure this never happens again in a psychiatric ward," said Borthwick. 

The inquest is scheduled for March 13 to 18th, 2023 at the Saint John Law Courts where the coroner and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding Hooper's death. The jury will then have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing more deaths due to similar circumstances in the future. Borthwick says this is a way to allow her daughter's memory to live on. 

"If they have to make changes, it will be because of Hillary, so she will not have died in vain. We are also pursuing legislation changes to make sure anyone who has a loved one in the hospital who dies will get an inquest into the person's death," said Borthwick.

New Brunswick’s acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Yves Leger says New Brunswickers need to brace themselves for more than just flu season this year, with influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncitial virus known as RSV are all impacting hospitals at the same time. At a press conference on Friday, Dr. Leger said that part of the reason so many young children are sick with RSV right now is because they've grown up sheltered from sickness during COVID-19.

"We believe that part of the reason is that we have a fairly large group of young kids who wouldn't have been exposed to this virus early in life due to the measures in place during the pandemic. Now all of these kids are being exposed at the same time, which means a lot of children are sick at the same time," said Léger.

Despite being concerned for the impact on the healthcare system, Dr. Léger is only going so far as to recommend masking as an effective tool, but does not see a need to make masking mandatory at this time.

Finally, 34 candidates and 5 hours of original television programming. That's what you will find all week long in CHCO's NBVotes television specials airing at noon, 7pm and 10:05pm every day this week leading up to the municipal election on November 28. We had the opportunity to profile all willing candidates for Eastern Charlotte, the Municipal District of St. Stephen as well as candidates for Bayside and Chamcook who will be amalgamating with the Municipality of St. Andrews. If you prefer to watch online, all of CHCO's NBVotes television specials are available on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. Now be sure to do your part and vote on November 28th. 

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Video Upload Date: November 23, 2022

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