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

Town of Comox council (from left) Alex Bissinger, Ken Grant, Nicole Minions, Mayor Russ Arnott, Stephanie McGowan, Maureen Swift and Pat McKenna. Photo by Kim Stallknecht
Comox council calls on B.C. to defer old-growth logging, decriminalize illicit drugs

The motion is similar to a resolution passed by Courtenay council

A Hyundai Tucson caught fire around 11 a.m. Tuesday at 17th and Willemar. The occupants were not hurt. Scott Stanfield photo
Car catches fire in Courtenay

The occupants of a Hyundai Tucson were not injured when their car… Continue reading

A mother duck leads her brood of ducklings past some benches in the courtyard at Mark R Isfeld School in Courtenay. Photo by Kailena Krutzmann
Ducklings bring joy to students at Courtenay school

Brood of duckings in the courtyard at Mark R Isfeld School

The current location of Comox Valley Search and Rescue on Moray Avenue in Courtenay. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Search and Rescue aiming to purchase a roof for their rescuers

Their goal is to raise between $1.2 and $1.5 million, approximately the purchase price of a facility

A bear is seen walking down Alderwood Place in east Courtenay Sunday (May 9) morning. Video screenshot/Kristie Cave
Video: Bears spotted throughout Comox Valley

Hide food sources, keep garbage away: conservation

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Most Read