As seen on The Sun UK by Magda Ibrahim, 19th February 2021.
A HEARTBROKEN mum has revealed her tragic daughter’s final words to her as the “vibrant and healthy” young woman died after doctors missed a fatal infection.
Ann Forry’s daughter Natasha, 29, said “don’t cry mum” before she died ten days after first going to hospital with an enlarged cyst on her leg, for which medics simply sent her home with painkillers.
The “amazing” bartender from Vancouver, Canada, reassured her mum in an emotional phone final call from hospital – but the next day she was dead.
Ann said: “I am still in complete shock. “I miss her horribly. My future as a grandmother is gone. Seeing her get married is gone, along with every other life event.
“My poor girl, I am just devastated.
“She was so fun and vibrant, with so much energy for life. How does this happen to a healthy 29-year-old?”
Natasha’s mum spoke to The Sun Online as she launched a campaign calling for reform of “outdated” laws in British Columbia that bar families who have lost loved ones in similarly tragic circumstances to sue for damages.
“She was a gorgeous girl inside and out. Natasha was so sensitive and supportive of family and friends,” she said.
“The amount of people who have been affected by her loss is shockingly huge to me. She lived such a full life, and loved adventure.
“I cannot put into words how amazing this girl was, and I am still trying to come to terms with the loss.”
The former film casting executive first went to hospital on October 2 with an enlarged cyst on her leg that needed draining.
Natasha was given painkillers and sent home feeling better.
But a week after her first hospital visit, the pain had spread to her abdomen and medics at a local walk-in centre referred her to the emergency room at Lions Gate Hospital, in Vancouver, with suspected appendicitis on October 9.
It was surreal as I went into the room to see Natasha. She was just gone. I am glad I saw her because I knew her soul or her spirit were gone
After tests and X-rays, Natasha was told she had swollen lymph nodes in her stomach and sent home with painkillers.
And the next day, the terrified Natasha was in agony again and could barely walk.
The young woman, who had recently launched her own natural dry shampoo for dogs, returned to the hospital, only to be sent away with more painkillers.
“That was the fatal error,” revealed her mum.
Just days after her first hospital visit, she was left unable to breathe, had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, and later died – with her mum saying only now is she coming out of shock.
Autopsy reports showed she died as a result of pneumonia caused by a staphylococcus infection – which is feared to have been caused by the cyst on her leg – with Ann filing a complaint about the “atrocity” of her death.
As terrified Ann was met by doctors at 7.20am on the morning of October 12 – Thanksgiving – she immediately knew her worst fears had been realised – her “beautiful, sensitive” daughter was dead.
“The nurses were all staring at me in shock, which made it even harder,” said Ann.
“It was surreal as I went into the room to see Natasha. She was just gone. I am glad I saw her because I knew her soul or her spirit were gone.
“It was so traumatic. Her nails were purple and her body was swollen. I am only just coming out of shock four months later.
“I have no other children, so I feel the pain has been doubled.”
Tragically, the animal-lover and keen artist had been able to join her mum’s small birthday dinner on October 5 where she was her “usual fun-loving self”, added Ann
The small group of five – including Ann’s partner and two friends – did not suspect for a second that just days later Natasha would be dead.
Her devastated mum said: “She looked so good. I just never imagined this would be the last time I would celebrate a birthday with her. I had her when I was young so we were friends as well as mother and daughter.”
“On the morning of Sunday October 11, Natasha called me unable to breathe. It was just horrific. It took 12 minutes for the ambulance to come for her, but it felt like forever.
“Shortly after, Natasha called from the hospital and when I started to cry, she replied to me ‘don’t cry mum’. Those would be my daughter’s last words to me.”
Natasha was rushed into an emergency treatment room, and when Ann arrived at the hospital she could see her daughter through the glass.
“Natasha looked my way and I made a heart shaped ‘I love you’ sign with my hands, before I got into protective gear so I could go in to see her,” explained her mum.
“She was really struggling to breathe but I wasn’t freaking out at that point. I don’t know if it was just shock.
“I never imagined that was the last time I would see my daughter alive. I had no idea of the grave danger she was in.”
As things went downhill, Natasha was rushed to intensive care, where she was put on a ventilator with suspected Covid-19 – but later tested negative – and given kidney dialysis.
Ann told The Sun Online: “I didn’t understand how she could have been sent home so many times. It is a disgrace.
“But I had every confidence in the hospital and the nurses were telling me they had seen miracles happen.
“It was so surreal. They kept telling me ‘your daughter is really sick’ but they couldn’t tell me what was wrong with her.
“They told me to go home as we were in for a marathon.”
It was every parent’s nightmare
But the next Ann heard from doctors was a phone call first thing on the morning of Thanksgiving telling her to get to the hospital.
Natasha had been taken in for surgery after medics had discovered her leg was turning purple.
“It was every parent’s nightmare,” revealed Ann.
“It was a horrible drive. I could only think of three scenarios. She has got a flesh-eating disease and they have had to amputate; she has had a bad reaction to the surgery and is brain-dead and we have to make a decision about her life; or she has passed away.”
Vancouver Coastal Health issued a statement in response to Natasha Forry’s death.
“This is a tragic situation, and we share our deepest condolences with the family and loved ones,” the health authority said.
“We conducted a review to examine the circumstances and our processes in the care of this patient, and will use these findings to improve care.”
But Natasha’s mum believes she has been denied the right to a full investigation and justice for her daughter’s death because of local legislation.
“This is still very overwhelming for me,” Ann added.
WRONGFUL DEATH LAW REFORM – WHAT IS IT?
Natasha’s mum Ann Forry is among bereaved families who have launched a hard-hitting campaign demanding change in compensation laws for horrific fatal accidents.
The families have teamed up with the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society to urge the government of British Columbia to reform the “outdated” law.
Under the Canadian province’s Family Compensation Act only earners with dependants are able to sue for damages when they have a fatal accident or there are questions over their death.
This means their loved ones are classed as ‘worthless’ in the eyes of the law, say the families, and they are barred from getting answers about their deaths or any compensation.
Four months after Natasha’s death, her filmmaker mum has created a social media video, with help from director Joe Lafleur, campaigning for legal reform.
Ms Forry has joined forces with families including the mums of 23-year-old Chelsea James, who was crushed after falling through a malfunctioning door on a party bus, and 26-year-old Amir Sedghi, who was killed in a plane crash in 2019.
Chelsea’s mum Shelly said: “It was completely preventable. I tried to sue but I couldn’t. Not only do you have to suffer the wrongful death and loss of your child, which is huge, but you have to suffer that there’s no accountability and that’s wrong.”
Tragic Amir’s mum Marzieh Beihaghi is keen for change after the “nightmare” of her son’s death.
The 26-year-old was on a mission to log wildfires in British Columbia with his boss when the small Cessna plane came down after engine failure, killing the two of them and the pilot.
“His death was every mother’s worst nightmare,” said his mum of the talented musician and keen environmentalist.
“We feel the loss of Amir every day. Only after his death were we even further shocked to learn that my son had no “value” under British Columbia’s wrongful death laws.”
“In BC, the deceased must have an income and dependents in order for their family to have access to justice and adequate compensation.”
Campaigners say the laws also disproportionately impact disabled people, the elderly and children when they are killed through the “recklessness and harm of others”.
THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
The Ministry of the Attorney General told The Sun: “We understand the injustice of the issue and the importance of addressing it. Our goal is to look at this issue within this government’s mandate.
“We completely understand the grief and the anger and the need for a recognition of what happened to Natasha and to people who find themselves in a similar situation.
“That’s why we believe in a need for reform in this area, and the Ministry will address it in this term of government.
“The Attorney General has recently had a call with Ann Forry to discuss the matter.”
Find out more about the campaign at InTheirName.ca
About the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society
‘In Their Name’ is the campaign of ‘The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’ – a BC registered non-profit organization comprised of volunteer families who have lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. In response to the biggest human rights issue facing the province today, our goal is to modernize British Columbia’s antiquated wrongful death legislation, which predates confederation (1846). Under current legislation, the value of a human life is measured only by the deceased’s future lost income, so long as they had dependents.
As a result of the province’s antiquated law, access to justice has been denied to the families of the wrongfully killed who do not meet this discriminatory criteria. This has affected especially vulnerable groups, namely children, seniors, the disabled, and anyone without dependents when they are killed by the negligent or intentional acts of another.
BC is presently the last of all the provinces, yet to have undertaken this critical legislative modernization to allow for dignity, value, and protections for all its citizens under the law.
When it’s ‘free’ to kill in BC, wrongdoers are not held accountable. This lack of general deterrence holds the province back in terms of incentivizing innovation of safety measures and protocols to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place.
Here’s How You Can Get Involved…
The Attorney General of British Columbia, David Eby, is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Eby receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, John Horgan.
Reform is presently at a standstill, as the BC NDP government does not presently view access to justice for the surviving family members of the wrongfully killed as a priority in this province. This is despite the fact that the families behind our Society have been fighting for modernization for over two decades. And despite the fact that all other provinces, including the Yukon, have already modernized in most cases long ago.
The only way to move this forward is by creating massive public awareness and outcry for legislative modernization. Only under the scrutiny of the public and the media will our politicians be forced to take this necessary, and long overdue action.
How many more people will need to die from the same preventable wrongful actions before our politicians will do their job?
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