Detainee abused prescription drugs, inquest says

Lisa Waddell, who was the prison’s acting deputy warden at the time, testified on December 10, 2019 McKenzie was admitted to prison after being arrested for violating his release conditions by failing a drug test drug. He had been released from the mental center about three months earlier.

Waddell explained that Correctional Service Canada policy dictates that an inmate is first received by the prison, and then a referral will come next for transfer. He was then asked if there had ever been a case where discretion had been used otherwise.

“I’ve never heard of that,” she said.

Waddell also confirmed that she knew McKenzie’s transfer to the psychiatric center began on February 25, the same day McKenzie mutilated his nose and was ultimately sent to Prince Albert Hospital for treatment.

In the past two days, there was a lot of discussion regarding McKenzie’s long history of self-harm.

Holly Osecki, nurse practitioner in Saskatchewan. Pen, saw McKenzie on February 5, 2020 and treated McKenzie for multiple lacerations to his chest, forearms and abdomen. McKenzie received nearly 20 stitches.

“I haven’t seen anything graphic as to a reason,” she said when asked what the reason for the self-harm was.

Commenting on the fact that McKenzie’s mental health had not improved since returning to prison, Osecki said she did not know why he was fired from the CPP.

When asked what she would do to help prevent similar deaths in the future, she explained that there was no simple answer and that the manpower and resources available had to be considered. .

“We’re all doing our best,” she said.

Osecki said his ideal would be a mental health unit at the prison that would be staffed around the clock with nurses and mental health workers.

Ashley Kuzma, an occupational therapist at the prison, had a number of direct interactions with McKenzie through programs such as cooking classes or recreational activities such as volleyball. Earlier this week, McKenzie was described as a quiet, shy guy who was embarrassed by his nose.

“He was always involved,” Kuzma said, adding that McKenzie, who also loved to draw, was always engaged and happy when interacting with others.

Following McKenzie’s self-harm incident on February 5, Kuzma said instructions were given for increased surveillance and a plan was discussed with McKenzie regarding a razor swap and the removal of sheets from his cell door. McKenzie also received a pocket radio, something he identified as a coping tool due to his love of music, Kuzma said.

Regarding why McKenzie cut himself on Feb. 5, Kuzma said he revealed to her that he felt anxious about an upcoming court hearing and the recent discontinuation of some antidepressant medications. that he had taken while he was in the community.

Two days after the incident, McKenzie was returned to his firing range. Kuzma confirmed that he confided in her that he was having dark thoughts and had considered asking to be taken to an observation cell.

However, McKenzie ultimately decided against it, explaining to Kuzma that returning to the lineup would be more beneficial as he had access to support, and said recent coping mechanisms he had learned were working.

A man who was not originally on the witness list, but who contacted the investigation, also testified on Wednesday, saying he had valuable information to provide.

Shane Pattison, detained in Sask. Pen, had lived on the same beach as McKenzie for nearly two years, and the two often hung out together to play cards. Pattison described McKenzie as easy-going, who didn’t pick on anyone.

“He had his own struggles,” Pattison said, adding that his friend often talked about his medications not working or being rejected by mental health workers.

The reason McKenzie’s meds were discontinued on Feb. 5, 2020 had yet to be provided for the inquest, but Pattison revealed his friend “played” them every day.

“He offered to snort them with him,” he said.

Thinking back to the day McKenzie returned to the shooting range, a day after cutting his nose, Pattison said he was surprised to see his friend return so soon, adding that he didn’t feel ready. Even McKenzie’s own assurances that he was doing good pleased Pattison.

“It looked like he was ready to give up,” he said.

Pattison then recalled how McKenzie later asked if the guards had done their rounds yet, to which Pattison replied that they had.

“He went quiet and all you could hear was the sheets ripping,” Pattison described, adding that at first all he thought was his friend setting up a screen. privacy. Moments later, Pattison and others saw McKenzie hanging and immediately called for help.

Presiding coroner Tim Hawryluk called Pattison’s testimony, particularly prescription drug abuse, critical evidence.

‘There seems to be a significant blind spot there,’ he said and asked Joele Fiddler, who was in charge of prison health care at the time of McKenzie’s death, to respond. .

“Yeah, that’s a surprise,” she said.

Fiddler was then asked by Hawryluk about the changes from prescription drugs she would be making, and she mentioned a number of possibilities, including having a corrections officer in the hallway, constant mouth checking and waiting times for medications.

“You can’t take everyone off the drug,” she said.

Fiddler also testified that McKenzie had seen a psychiatrist at least eight times and a psychologist about three times. She added that the recruitment of medical professionals in the prison is very difficult and there is often a vacancy when it comes to psychologists.

A total of 27 witnesses have been programmed for this week’s survey and the last are expected on Thursday.

Afterwards, the jury will be sequestered and asked to compile a list of recommendations that they believe would help prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm or has suicidal thoughts, please contact:

Canadian Suicide Prevention Service (1-833-456-4566), Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service (306-933-6200), Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit (306-764-1011), Regina Mobile Crisis Services (306-525- 5333) or the Hope for Wellness Helpline, which offers culturally appropriate crisis response support for Indigenous people at (1-855-242-3310).

[email protected]

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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