New coroner to investigate woman's death at Montreal hospital after conflict of interest allegation
MONTREAL -- The family of a woman who was found dead on the floor at Lakeshore General Hospital last February is relieved that the coroner who was supposed to probe her death has now recused herself after an allegation of a conflict of interest.
Candida Macarine, 86, was admitted to the hospital in the West Island of Montreal on Feb. 26 for respiratory problems and her family said she died several hours later from cardiac arrest.
Although her family was told the day of the death that it was due to cardiac arrest, the circumstances weren’t explained to them until two weeks later, after a CBC story about a woman found dead on the floor. That’s when the hospital admitted the woman was, in fact, Macarine.
After calls from the family for an investigation into what happened, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montreal notified the coroner’s office — one month later — about the woman’s death.
But the family recently raised concerns about the woman charged with leading the investigation, Karine Spénard, after the Montreal-based Center for Research-Action on Race Relations pointed to her ties to the regional health authority. Her LinkedIn profile says she was the chief of legal affairs for the CIUSSS de l’Ouest from June 2015 to August 2017.
In a written statement Monday night, the coroner’s office said it denied that Spénard was placed in a conflict of interest because she has not worked for the regional health authority for several years.
"However, since Ms. Macarine's family members have withdrawn their confidence in Coroner Spénard, she has requested that the investigation of the death be transferred to another coroner. The Chief Coroner agreed to her request and a new coroner will be appointed to continue the case," the statement read.
"It’s good news," Macarine’s son, Emmanuel, told CTV News Monday evening.
"I really hope that after this, things will start moving and we’ll see more progress in the investigation."
Nearly three month after Macarine’s death, the family is still waiting for answers about the circumstances of her death. Emmanuel lamented the fact that his family has had to go public about the case to put pressure on health officials.
"We shouldn't be the ones running after them to get the answers. It seems that … we are doing everything to get the answers," he said.
"Something went wrong. We shouldn’t be the one doing the investigation into what happened that night."
— With files from CTV Montreal's Matt Grillo