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Jurors’ recommendations expected in Hearst inquest March 13

Will jurors recommend essential service designation?

Jurors in the coroner’s inquest into the death of James Hearst are expected to release their recommendations Tuesday, March 13, and chief among questions is to what extent they recommend against allowing paramedics to reduce staffing levels during labour actions.

Hearst died of a heart attack June 25, 2009, in the hallway of his Alexander St apartment complex while waiting for emergency medical services. His death drew widespread attention and criticism of the actions of the paramedics involved, who decided to stage their response around the corner out of view of the building. There was speculation at the time that their delayed response was due to the 2009 civic workers’ strike, although all involved have denied that they purposely delayed their service because of the labour action.

Hearst’s death has already been the subject of an inquest by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, which concluded that five EMS staffers made serious errors, including not following proper procedures.

The coroner’s inquest cannot assign guilt but will issue recommendations to prevent future deaths.

Xtra will have more information when the jury releases its recommendations.

Here is some of Xtra‘s previous coverage:

Feb 17, 2012: Paramedic denies that strike led to deadly delay
Jan 31, 2012: Hearst inquiry hears that 911 dispatcher used wrong protocol

April 1, 2010: Hearst inquest scheduled for April 6
Feb 11, 2010: Coroner announces inquest in Hearst case

Oct 11, 2009: Hearst report blames EMS staff for tragic delay
Sept 24, 2009: EDITORIAL: Collateral Damage
Aug 4, 2009: EDITORIAL: Just answer the questions
July 30, 2009: Village man dies in long wait for paramedics