During her time at the Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC) in Saskatoon, Kinew James died of cardiac arrest due to hyperglycemia, resulting from poorly managed diabetes, an inquest has heard.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Shaun Ladham conducted James’s autopsy and described it in detail to the jury.
James, 35, was found unresponsive in her cell in January 2013 and was pronounced dead in hospital.
At the time of her death, James was near the end of an aggregate sentence of 15 years for manslaughter, assault, uttering threats and other charges.
She was scheduled for release in August 2013.
WATCH: Testimony wraps at inquest into the death of Kinew James who died at the Regional Psychiatric Centre
James had expressed anxiety about her looming departure from the centre, unsure how she would re-integrate into the public, the inquest heard.
A temporary release from the centre can relieve some patient anxiety about integration, RPC warden Shawn Bird said on the stand.
However, James never reached the temporary release point in the process, he said.
Bird described a patient-oriented, open and respectful environment at the RPC, which is sensitive to needs of indigenous residents.
“I believe that we have a very robust program for addressing the cultural needs of the offenders,” Bird said.
James’s family said her medical needs weren’t met when a nurse had to wait to be joined by two correctional officers before approaching James during her cardiac episode.
Only one officer would have been required to be on duty during the day.
“It just seems backwards to me,” Kinew’s brother Cecil James said, suggesting more officers are needed during the day when more people are awake and moving around the facility.
The inquest is expected to hear a summary of the evidence on Wednesday.
The coroner will charge the jury, allowing them to come up with recommendations to prevent similar deaths from happening in the future.
— With files from Global’s Dave Giles