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

A fire destroyed a commercial building on Idlemore Road early Tuesday. The fire is under investigation. (Kenn Mount photo)
UPDATED: Early morning fire destroys new Sooke distillery

Firefighters still investigating cause of Island Shiners Distillery blaze early Tuesday

Oak Bay Police Department briefs for May 3 to 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Copper wire stolen after Oak Bay construction site targeted twice by thieves

Cop briefs include pair of impounded cars, swiped back medication

The Capital Regional District hopes to be a national leader in zero waste and the circular economy, but getting there will take curbing construction waste and addressing challenges brought on by the region’s growth. Pictured is the Hartland landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD aims to be zero waste national leader, reduce enough to curb landfill expansion

Capital Region will have to reduce major waste sources: construction, organics from apartments

Langford Fire Rescue (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford looks to strike out on its own for emergency fire dispatch services

Mayor Stew Young says the city is large enough to negotiate solo

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

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

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Photo submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Island community

Crofton residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Drug users were shut out of Vancouver’s decriminalization proposal, critics say, demanding redo

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a 3-day supply

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
B.C. to provide three days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

(Pixabay)
B.C. doctors could face consequences for spreading COVID misinformation: college

College says doctors have a higher level of responsibility to not spread incorrect information

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
North Vancouver Island Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program ready to relaunch

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety while providing marine safety net

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

Most Read