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Lindsey’s Story

Told by her mother, Lorie

“Lindsey was my baby. Before her passing, I had already lost my husband and my other daughter. When I lost Lindsey, I lost my whole family.

On September 20, 2016, I dropped Lindsey off to meet some friends at the movies. Some of the kids decided to go to the store across the street. They were crossing a major highway, and even though my daughter was in the crosswalk, the light changed and she didn’t quite make it across. Lindsey was hit by a truck, but she survived the accident with a bit of road rash, a cut on her head, and a broken femur.

That evening, an RCMP officer knocked on my door. He told me that my daughter had been involved in an accident, and was on her way to the hospital. I just freaked out – I was in such a state, so the RCMP officer drove me to the hospital.

The doctors had wrapped Lindsey’s leg and put it in a splint. She needed surgery on her leg, but the surgeon that was there that night decided that it was okay for her to wait until the next day. Lindsey only had a matter of hours. Not long after the accident, she had a seizure and had to be airlifted from Nanaimo to a hospital in Victoria.

The doctors in Victoria were not at all impressed when they received Lindsey. They asked me: “What did they do to her in Nanaimo?” They told me that the way she had arrived with her leg wrapped in a splint was absolutely disgraceful, and the way that the doctors in Nanaimo had handled her case was atrocious.

As soon as Lindsey got to the hospital in Nanaimo, the doctors should have taken her into surgery. Lindsey had a long bone fracture. With this type of fracture there is a danger of fat embolism syndrome (FES), which occurs when fat comes out of the bone marrow and enters the bloodstream. In Lindsey’s case, the embolism went to her lungs and couldn’t be filtered properly, and then it went to her brain and caused her seizure. After the seizure, Lindsey was on life support for twenty five days before she died on October 15, 2016.

Her death was preventable. If the doctors in Nanaimo had taken her into surgery right away, Lindsey would still be here. That’s the part that makes me so angry – this should never have happened. Lindsey didn’t die because of her accident; she died because of the negligence of the doctors who were supposed to be looking after her.

I hired a malpractice lawyer, and when I first told him about what happened to Lindsey, he told me: “Oh my God, I know this story.” He told me about what happened to Heidi Dawn Klompas twenty years earlier, and then he connected me to Heidi’s mother, Catherine, who contacted me a day or two later. When we each recounted what had happened to our daughters, we were basically repeating the same story to one another. Heidi’s story is exactly to a T what happened to Lindsey.

Just like Lindsey, Heidi was involved in a car accident that caused a long bone fracture, and hours later she suffered a seizure caused by FES. Both of our girls were around the same age when they died – sixteen and seventeen. Both were on life support for about the same amount of time before they passed away. The similarities between our stories are just crazy. And yet, twenty years after Heidi’s passing, nothing has changed. The exact same mistake cost my daughter her life. It seems to me that the wheels of justice turn very slowly.

After Heidi’s passing, Catherine wrote about what happened to her and published a book to educate the doctors in the hospitals in Vancouver. If Lindsey’s accident had happened in Vancouver, she might have survived. The doctors might have been aware of Heidi’s story, and they might have been educated on the dangers of FES and known what to do when Lindsey came in with a long bone fracture. There should have been education and training across the board to prevent this from happening again. That’s why having a law that enforces accountability for mistakes like this is so important – for future victims of this kind of thing.

After Lindsey died, I couldn’t go to court – my lawyer said that because she was a child and not a breadwinner, there was no chance of getting any compensation. The law prevented us from taking the case anywhere. It made me feel like my child’s life didn’t matter. Lindsey died because of the hospital’s negligence. And yet, the fact is that I can’t sue the hospital, I can’t sue the doctors involved, and nobody is held accountable for their negligence. This needs to be rectified so that some other family does not have to go through this.”


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 Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, is responsible for the modernization of BC’s wrongful death laws. Our Society provided David Eby with the drafted ‘Wrongful Death Accountability Act’ when he was acting as the Attorney General for British Columbia for 6 years between 2017-2022. The new Attorney General, Niki Sharma, also shares responsibility as she is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the current guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Sharma receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, David Eby, who is ultimately responsible for modernization.

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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Petition Your MLA Now

Unlike other Canadian provinces, BC has not made any significant amendments to its wrongful death legislation—ever. The current BC Family Compensation Act only values the lives of income-earners. This neglect must stop. Petitioning your local MLA, the Attorney General, and Premier with our automated tool can make a lasting difference to the lives of British Columbians for generations to come.

Dear Local MLA, Attorney General Niki Sharma, Premier David Eby, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Farnworth,

I am writing to you about the preventable death of 16-year-old Lindsey Kean and British Columbia’s woefully outdated wrongful death laws; which are still based on colonial era legislation from 1846.

BC’s current Family Compensation Act only takes into account the direct financial losses resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one. As a result, only the families of deceased breadwinners see the inside of a courtroom in cases of wrongful death.

Children, seniors, people with disabilities, or anyone who does not meet the discriminatory criteria of having both an income and dependents are classes of people whose lives are not valued or respected when they are killed in BC.

This is a human rights issue.

Investigations into the wrongful death of these classes of citizens most often do not occur because there is no ‘loss of earnings’ to cover civil trial costs.

Accordingly, families have been denied the ability to right the wrong and ensure that the same preventable actions which resulted in the wrongful death would not happen to another.

Unlike other provinces in Canada, which in most cases have modernized long ago, many of your constituents are considered “worthless” under the discriminatory law in British Columbia.

Lindsey Kean, sadly, is one of these cases where no accountability can be brought against wrongdoers who were negligent in their duty of care. Her story can be read here –

You may note in the story, that Lindsey died from the exact same preventable medical error that 17-year-old Heidi Klompas died from back in 1997, after having been hit by a drunk driver. Heidi’s story can be viewed here –

The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society is comprised of families who have been fighting for over two decades to see our laws modernized. They have drafted legislation that can solve this problem now.

These families, based on each individual personal experience of loss, have demanded that the legislation include the following tenets:

#1 The value of human life must not be based merely on whether the wrongfully killed was a breadwinner with dependants. There must be a legal recognition for the value of each life and the loss of love, guidance, care, companionship, and affection wrongfully taken from surviving family members.

#2 The value of human life must not be arbitrarily capped by legislation. Damages for the loss of life must be assessed individually by constitutionally independent superior courts, in recognition of the distinct relationship that existed between each of the surviving family members and the wrongfully killed loved one.

#3 All forms of non-pecuniary damages, including aggravated and punitive damages must be available under the legislation to be awarded in appropriate cases. Financial penalty assessed by a civil court when a wrongdoer maliciously, or recklessly kills another person is essential when criminal prosecution is not pursued or fails. General deterrence of future wrongdoing is an important objective.

#4 If an individual is not initially killed by a wrongful act, but later dies before the conclusion of litigation, this should not be a windfall for the wrongdoer. There should not be a perverse incentive for the wrongdoer to delay, or prolong litigation. Damages relating to conscious pain, suffering, and disability during the period between the wrong and the decedent’s death, including damages for loss of expectation of life, pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, or loss of amenities must remain available under the legislation.

#5 Families deserve the right to have their day in court with the ability to obtain professional legal representation on a contingency basis. No other piece of legislation in the province should bar the pursuit of an at-fault wrongful death claim against a negligent party. The contingency fee system does not discriminate socioeconomically, and it ensures the family can obtain the best representation necessary to obtain truth, justice, and accountability against a wrongdoer, no matter how big and powerful that wrongdoer might be. Families also deserve the right to have the case decided by a jury of their peers. This fundamental aspect of our democracy must be preserved.

What will you do to create a fair and adequate wrongful death law in BC?

Yours Truly,

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cc: Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon, Liberal Critic for Attorney General Mike de Jong, Liberal Critic for Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Morris, BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau

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