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'He was asking for help' Family wants answers about Hay River man's death

Darryl Sabourin from Hay River was a great father who was ready to help at a moment's notice, according to his brother.  (Submitted by Cindi-Rae Harris - image credit)
Darryl Sabourin from Hay River was a great father who was ready to help at a moment's notice, according to his brother. (Submitted by Cindi-Rae Harris - image credit)

A former Hay River resident wants to know why his brother died at the University of Alberta hospital in Edmonton, two days after checking himself in.

Tim Dunham said his brother Darryl Sabourin struggled with alcohol abuse and went to the hospital on March 4 to detox as he tried to get his life back on track.

The father of four had been sending out resumes to get a camp job and thought detox would be the first step in turning things around for himself.

"He said, 'OK, brother, I'll give you a call in a day or two.' I was gonna check on him the next day," Dunham said.

Instead, he woke up the next morning to a phone call from a doctor at the hospital, who told him Sabourin had an altercation with a security guard after asking to switch rooms because he felt uncomfortable with his roommate.

"He was trying to explain that he didn't want to be in there because the other patient that was there was harassing him and keeping him up all night," Dunham said.

From what Dunham understands, Sabourin was denied a new room and chose to sit in the hallway instead.

Dunham said eventually, a security guard told Sabourin to go back to his room, but his brother preferred to stay in the hallway. That's when the altercation started.

"He got away, he ran to the nurse's desk and he was trying to dial 911. He was asking for help because he felt like his life was in danger with the security guards," he said.

Darryl Sabourin, far right, with his partner Cindi-Rae Harris and four sons.
Darryl Sabourin, far right, with his partner Cindi-Rae Harris and four sons.

Darryl Sabourin, far right, with his partner Cindi-Rae Harris and four sons. (Submitted by Cindi-Rae Harris)

Dunham said he was told Sabourin was pinned down by the security guards but he wouldn't stop squirming.

"They only got off of him because he stopped moving. So when they got up, they realized he wasn't breathing or anything. He was lifeless," he said.

The doctor said they attempted to resuscitate his brother but he was dead.

Waiting for answers 

Dunham said he tried asking what kind of life-saving procedures they attempted on his brother and how long they waited to help him after he stopped moving. He also wants to know why and how it escalated to the point of death.

But he's not getting any answers, he said, and all he's been told is that they're investigating.

Tim Duham, Sabourin's brother, says his family will continue to push for answers about what happened to cause his brother's death.
Tim Duham, Sabourin's brother, says his family will continue to push for answers about what happened to cause his brother's death.

Tim Duham, Sabourin's brother, says his family will continue to push for answers about what happened to cause his brother's death. (Submitted by Tim Dunham )

"He had no weapon, he's not being a threat, they just want him back in the room. So they're forcefully trying to put him back there and he didn't want to," Dunham said.

Alberta Health Services to review incident 

Dunham said his brother should still be alive and he wants to know what protocols are in place to prevent this from happening again.

Alberta Health Services said they will review the incident and work with the family to answer any questions they might have.

The Edmonton Police Service said it is aware of the incident and that it remains under investigation.

Sabourin was a great father, Dunham said. He was always there for everyone and ready to help at a moment's notice.

"He was a good guy, he always had the best intentions," he said. "Anything you needed from him, he was there. He would give the coat off his back if you were struggling."

Dunham said they plan to hire a lawyer.

He said his brother deserved better, and that his family will do anything they can to find out why this happened to him.

"It's been two weeks now," he said. "We are looking for answers and they don't want to give us any."