Daughter says dad's H1N1 death unreported
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | 3:34 PM NT
A woman from central Newfoundland says her father died from swine flu-related complications last week, but his death has gone unreported as an H1N1 statistic.
Edith Snow of Wings Point, a tiny community on the north central coast of the province, said her family doctor told her the case hasn't been reported publicly because her father wasn't hospitalized when he died.
Snow said she took her father, Seymour Cassell, 77, who lived in nearby Horwood, to hospital in Gander last week because he had flu-like symptoms.
A doctor prescribed the drug Tamiflu, an anti-viral medication used to fight influenza, and sent her father home, Snow said.
She said it was too late to pick up the pills that day because the drug store had closed, so he didn't start taking the medication until the next evening.
When her father's condition worsened, Snow called the Gander hospital. But she said a health-care worker told her there was no need to bring him back.
"She says 'No point in bringing him in, keep him home, start him on Tamiflu — in a couple of days he'll be fine,'" she told CBC News.
The next day, her father died.
Snow, who said her father had a history of heart and lung problems, said she has questions about why he wasn't admitted to hospital and why closer attention wasn't paid to his symptoms.
"Why would they send a 77-year-old man home with very bad shortness of breath, knowing he had underlying health conditions? Why would they send somebody with problems like that home, and then I want to know why didn't the nurse say 'Bring him in and get him checked again.'"
Snow said their family doctor in Lewisporte has since confirmed that her father's tests came back positive for swine flu.
She said her doctor said the death wasn't reported publicly because the health department only reports swine flu-related deaths that happen in a medical facility.
Health officials in the province have reported the deaths of seven people from H1N1-related complications.
[link to www.cbc.ca