The unexpected death of a patient at a New Brunswick psychiatric hospital has left the family of a patient at the facility on edge, and the government offering their condolences.
Reid Smith, who’s 34-year-old son Aaron is receiving treatment at the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton, N.B., says that his son is always in the back of his mind and that news of a death at the facility hasn’t helped.
According to Vitalité Health Network, a patient at the Restigouche Hospital Centre died on Saturday.
“The facility’s staff noted the death this morning, and the procedures were immediately put in place to inform the patient’s family, police authorities and the coroner,” read a statement from the health network released on Saturday.
The RCMP and the coroner are also investigating the patient’s death.
Reid says that a parent’s worst nightmare is getting a call that something has happened to their child.
“The anxiety is there every day, it’s there when you go to sleep at night it’s there when you wake up in the morning,” Smith said, on Sunday.
Aaron suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD and anxiety. Smith’s son has been at the Restigouche Hospital Centre for six years and was left to roam the halls while being weaned off of medication.
“Unfortunately, he fell unconscious twice in the cafeteria due to the withdrawal symptoms, that was a major concern for us that he wasn’t being properly monitored.”
The death at the facility comes only days after a scathing report by New Brunswick’s Ombudsman that found patients have been suffering from negligence, abuse and unacceptable treatment.
The complaints that prompted the investigation date back to 2017.
“They’ve been trying for two years,” said ombudsman Charles Murray.
“It’s not getting better and patient care is the casuality of refusing to change.”
WATCH: N.B. mental health facility report hits close to home in Campbellton
The New Brunswick government has stepped in and hired a mental health expert from Ottawa to review issues raised in the report and to help guide operational changes at the centre.
They’ve also halted the opening of a nearby youth centre amid concerns about the mistreatment of patients just next door.
Health Minister Ted Flemming acknowledged the death in a statement on Sunday, saying that the provincial government offers their “deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the patient.”
“We share public concern and acknowledge that there is increased focus on the hospital given the systemic issues found by the ombud. The Department of Health will continue to closely monitor this matter,” he said.”
The psychiatric facility opened in June of 2015 and has been plagued with a reputation as a place where patients are warehoused and not properly rehabilitated.
The Ombudsman believes there may be more stories of neglect out there, so he’s keeping the investigation open in hopes that others will come forward.