Child dies in Lakeridge hospital during chief coroner’s examination

Ontario’s chief coroner has launched an investigation into the “sudden and unexpected” death of a child in an Ontario hospital on Tuesday.

The death occurred at Lakeridge Health Ajax Pickering Hospital, but no other details have been provided.

“Due to patient privacy, we are unable to comment further,” Sharon Navarro, manager of public relations and digital communications at Lakeridge, told CTV News.

“However, speculation without facts can be detrimental, especially to families and staff. Lakeridge Health continues to take pride in the collective efforts and incredible dedication of the skilled professionals in our organization and community who support the very best, person-centered care every day.”

A spokesperson for Ontario’s chief coroner said their office investigates when a death is sudden and unexpected.

“So the death of a two-year-old may not merit an investigation if there was a known disease process,” Stephanie Rea, Issues Manager at the chief coroner’s office, told CTV News Toronto.

“For example, if a child had been hospitalized for health reasons and subsequently died, a coroner would not necessarily be called in to examine it, as medical records would describe the cause and manner of death.”

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones responded to the death at a press conference on Thursday, noting that she “cannot imagine how challenging this must be” for both the child’s family and carers present.

“I will let the investigation at the hospital do the work they need to do to communicate with that family, but I don’t think any of us can understand how deeply saddened we are when we hear of a patient’s death,” Jones said.

A Lakeridge spokesperson, meanwhile, was unable to comment on the circumstances of the child’s death.

In an interview with CTV News Toronto, Dr. Doris Grinspun, Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, that everything possible was done immediately to save the child’s life.

“I am hopeful that the situation has nothing to do with the crisis that is in our hands across the province and that this is the condition in which the child came to the hospital,” she said.

“But still, the tragedy is there.”

The death inquiry launched by Ontario’s chief coroner comes as a number of Ontario children’s hospitals are struggling to keep up with the influx of patients with respiratory viruses, including RSV and the flu.

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