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

City staff has passed an order requiring remedial action on a building that was severely damaged by fire last fall. Trevor Crawley photo.
City council orders remedial action on vacant buildings damaged by fire

City council has issued a remedial action order relating to vacant buildings… Continue reading

At the library
At the Cranbrook Public Library

By Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with… Continue reading

Candice Marie Neale was last seen by her family on May 5, 2021 around 11p.m. Cranbrook RCMP are asking anyone who sees Neale to contact police. (Submitted file)
UPDATE: Previously missing Cranbrook woman located, found safe and sound, says RCMP

Candice Marie Neale was reporting missing on Monday, she has since been found

Sisters Becky McArthur and Robin Hansen are the owners of Twisted Peaks, which marked its first birthday, May 11, 2021.
Twisted Peaks marks first birthday

Happy first birthday to Twisted Peaks, the frozen yogurt shop that began… Continue reading

GoByBike week takes place in Cranbrook from May 31st to June 6th. There are several challenges to participate in for the chance to win prizes, and the championship title. (Townsman file)
GoByBike week in Cranbrook returns at the end of May

Ride your bike to school or work between May 31st and June 6th

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

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

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read