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Health inquiry demands answers
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 11:29AM MST
Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2013 7:07PM MST
The provincial inquiry into allegations that certain Albertans were seen by medical professionals before others on waiting lists has wrapped up its first day in Calgary.
Former Capital Health CEO Sheila Weatherhill admitted she called hospitals on occasion when so called VIP’s were admitted, but says it was simply to make staff aware of it. She told the inquiry "just like the thousands of pieces of information they have about what's happening in their facility, it's another factor".
The public inquiry began on December 3 in Edmonton.
On the last day of testimony in Edmonton, the inquiry heard from Brigette McDonough, the former Director of Critical Care at the University of Alberta hospital.
McDonough said that there was pressure to fast track certain patients, but that didn’t happen except for one incident.
She said that were was a series of emails between ER doctors and healthcare officials, saying that a prominent patient was in the waiting room of the U of A hospital in 2007.
McDonough made the call to check on the patient after she was contacted over the phone by Weatherill, the CEO of Capital Health at the time.
“She said, ‘Are you telling me that I have to?’,” McDonough said. “I said ‘Yes, I’m directing you to please go and see this patient, and if this patient is in any pain then could you please have one of the Emergency Room physicians come out and take a look at them?’’
The former executive testified that she made the directive after she was pressured by Weatherill – which McDonough said happened often.
Weatherill is expected to take the stand during the two week session in Calgary.
Critics say the $10M inquiry should focus on alleged intimidation and bullying, and mismanagement in the system.
Once the inquiry wraps up, the findings will be delivered to the speaker of the legislative assembly in April.
With files from CTV Edmonton