Anne-Marie Hutchins of Chilliwack with her daughter Emma and son Jayden. (Submitted)

Anne-Marie Hutchins of Chilliwack with her daughter Emma and son Jayden. (Submitted)

Family of woman who died after visit to Chilliwack COVID test site wants change

Anne-Marie Hutchins’ sister said she was sent home despite chest pain and a history of tachycardia

When Anne-Marie Hutchins went to the COVID-19 testing site in Chilliwack on Aug. 25, 2020, she knew she was sick but she didn’t know how sick or what exactly was wrong.

What she did not have was COVID-19. But the acute chest pain she was experiencing and reported, along with her history of tachycardia, is something her sister Christine Hutchins says was overlooked.

Screening staff recommended no further medical assessment and the 46-year-old was sent home to self-isolate.

Her spouse took her to Chilliwack General Hospital the next day, Aug. 26, at 1:45 p.m. She died at 9:01 p.m. of a heart attack due to coronary artery disease.

“The fact that she was having chest pain should have been a reason to direct her to urgent care,” Christine told The Progress on Wednesday (April 28). “It is very likely that further assessment of her vitals, if they have been taken at the COVID-19 assessment centre, would have confirmed this. She could have arrived at the hospital more than 24 hours earlier than she did, and this could have saved her life.”

Anne-Marie Hutchins COVID-19 screening form from Aug. 25 2020. (Submitted)

Since Anne-Marie’s death, Christine and her mother Chris Race have gone back and forth with Fraser Health questioning their practices at the COVID testing sites. On a mission to make changes, they sent a letter to 90 individuals or medical centres, including the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), the BC Centre for Disease Control, Patient Care Quality Offices (PCQO), Members of Parliament, public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

All responses they received referred them to the PCQO for Fraser Health. The PCQO did not provide a written response within the promised 40 business days, only responding in a letter on March 12, 2021.

“Fraser Health’s response provides justification as to why they do not believe she needed to be referred to urgent care or to be assessed further,” she said. “Instead they are justifying reasons why they did not. It’s just baffling to me. It’s so disheartening.”

Christine said the PCQO did not identify immediate medical distress, which she says means the chest pain and history of tachycardia were overlooked.

In part, where Christine and the PCQO disagree is with the purpose is of a COVID-19 testing site. In a letter signed by PCQO-Fraser Health managing consultant Tasleem Juma and patient care quality officer Laura Briard, it was explained that the purpose of the COVID test sites was to swab members of the public who suspected they may have been exposed to the virus.

“The site was not an assessment-based clinic such as an urgent primary care centre, an emergency department, or a family doctor’s office.”

Those with physical distress, they concede, are to be directed to the emergency department. But it’s here where Christine disagrees with the assessment, or lack thereof, done on Anne-Marie that day.

“Even though she said she had chest pain, it’s like they didn’t take that seriously.”

Fraser Health has since edited its COVID-19 testing web pages to note that anyone experiencing certain serious symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing or severe chest pain should call 911 or go to emergency.

Christine says this advice online goes against the actions of the frontline staff on Aug. 25, 2020.

“This is contradictory to the point that Fraser Health is not admitting that an error was made and that Anne-Marie should have been referred to emergency.

“Fraser Health is not taking any accountability.”

Christine said her main objective going through the process of making formal complaints and, now, going to the media, is to prevent what happened to Anne-Marie happening to others.

“First and foremost, our intent to reach out is to build public awareness. By sharing our story, we hope to inform the public to advocate for their own health,” she said. “It is very important to emphasize that we should not begin with the assumption that we have COVID-19. We should be going to a doctor or emergency to be assessed, not to a COVID-19 testing site.

“Fraser Health did not send a patient who had chest pain to emergency and is not taking any accountability for their actions.”

Anne-Marie worked for many years as a records analyst for the Abbotsford Police Department.

RELATED: COVID-19 testing site to open at Chilliwack Health Unit starting Monday

RELATED: COVID-19 testing lineup wraps around block in Chilliwack


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Paul Chung is working as an early childhood educator at Cornerstone Children’s Centre in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read