Advertisement

Correctional staff not to blame in Mi'kmaw woman's death, says N.S. attorney general

Nova Scotia's attorney general and the province's health authority are denying responsibility in a lawsuit over the death of 36-year-old Sarah Rose Denny, who had been in provincial custody last year. (Brian Knockwood - image credit)
Nova Scotia's attorney general and the province's health authority are denying responsibility in a lawsuit over the death of 36-year-old Sarah Rose Denny, who had been in provincial custody last year. (Brian Knockwood - image credit)

The attorney general's office for Nova Scotia says correctional staff are not to blame in the death of a Mi'kmaw woman who had been in custody last year.

Sarah Rose Denny died in hospital last March after being held in the Central Nova Scotia Women's Facility in Dartmouth.

Her family is suing the province's health authority and attorney general for negligence and discrimination.

They say Denny, 36, died of pneumonia two weeks after she was arrested when a nurse at the jail assumed she was in alcohol withdrawal.

Last fall, the health authority denied any responsibility and this month, the attorney general's office also denied the lawsuit's claims.

Both say Denny's care was appropriate.

AG says health authority staff had responsibility

In its statement of defence, the attorney general says the Nova Scotia Health Authority "is responsible for conducting health assessments when inmates are brought to provincial correctional facilities and for providing ongoing health care to inmates at provincial correctional facilities, pursuant to a shared services agreement between NSHA and correctional services.

"Sarah Denny had access to and spoke with NSHA staff every day during her time at CNSWF. CNSWF staff are not privy to those conversations due to patient confidentiality."

The attorney general says Denny was initially housed in the health care confinement cell when she arrived at the Dartmouth facility and two days later was moved to a day cell after being cleared by health-care staff.

Correctional staff reported concerns over Denny's condition to health authority staff later that day and the next day she was moved back to the confinement cell, according to the statement.

One day later, correctional staff again reported concerns over Denny's condition to health-care staff and the on-duty charge nurse decided to send her to hospital, where she died later that day.

Both the health authority and the attorney general are asking that the lawsuit be dismissed with costs.

MORE TOP STORIES