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Hearst inquest scheduled for April 6

Paramedics waited idle in dying man's last moments

"HE DIED WITH HIS HEAD IN MY HANDS." Manuel Rodriguez sits in the hallway at 40 Alexander St where he and his roommate found Jim Hearst bleeding on the night of June 25. Credit: Micheal Pihach

The inquest into the death of Toronto gay man James Hearst is scheduled to start next week.

Hearst collapsed in a common hallway in the building in which he lived at 40 Alexander St on the evening of June 25, 2009. He was tended to by bystanders, who administered CPR and called 911 several times, but it took paramedics more than 45 minutes to arrive on the scene. By then Hearst had died of a heart attack.

It was subsequently revealed that paramedics did respond within nine minutes of the initial call, but were sitting idle nearby. They were waiting for police to attend because, they said, they were concerened about “health and safety issues.” But none of the bystanders who assisted Hearst perceived any threat to anyone except Hearst, and none of them saw paramedics until Hearst was already dead.

Read how the story unfolded here, here and here.

And some analysis here.

The inquest, at the Toronto Coroners Courts, 15 Grosvenor St, starts Tuesday, April 6 at 9:30am. It is expected to take three weeks and hear testimony from about 30 witnesses. It’s open to the public; anyone can attend.