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Natasha’s Story

Told by her mother, Ann

“Tasha was everything to me. She was my only child and throughout her life, I was mostly a single parent. We were very close and usually talked every day. I would be the first person she’d call to share exciting news and vice versa. We were inseparable. My beautiful daughter died suddenly at the young age of 29.

On October 2nd, 2020, Natasha called me concerned about a cyst that had become enlarged. I told her to go to Lions Gate Hospital to have them look at it. She later called to tell me that the cyst had been drained and that she felt better. They had given her Tylenol and released her from the hospital.

On October 6th, we celebrated my birthday, had a great dinner and Natasha was her vibrant self.

However, on the morning of October 9th, she called to say that she had pain in her abdomen, and had visited a walk-in clinic where they suspected appendicitis and told her to go straight to Lions Gate Emergency.

I arrived soon after at Lions Gate E.R. but wasn’t allowed to go in and see my daughter due to the COVID-19 hospital measures in place. I was told “she’s a grown up and doesn’t need to have you with her”. Later that evening, Natasha called me from the E.R and asked me to come get her as she had been given painkillers and wasn’t able to drive. She told me after many hours of tests, x-rays and scans, the hospital said she had swollen lymph nodes in her stomach, which would get better in a couple of days.

On Saturday October 10th, I was out shopping when Natasha called me in a lot of pain, crying and asking me what she should do. I told her she needed to go back to the hospital. It broke my heart to hear her in so much pain but I knew that there wasn’t anything I could do to help her. I believed the hospital was the best place for her to get care.

Natasha contacted her friend Lindsay, who dropped Natasha off at Lions Gate Emergency once again. Natasha had more blood work done and was sent home late that night in a cab with double the painkillers from the night before.

On the morning of Sunday October 11th, Natasha called and relayed to me with difficulty that she was having trouble breathing. I told her to call 9-1-1 immediately, which she did. It seemingly took forever for the ambulance to arrive.

Shortly after, Natasha called and said she was at the hospital. I was relieved. I thought she must be okay if she was able to call. I started to cry and she replied to me “don’t cry mum”.

Those would be my daughters last words to me.

This time when I arrived at Lions Gate, I was allowed in and went to see my daughter. I stood outside the glass room she was in and she looked over and saw me. I motioned “I love you” with my hands and made a heart shape. I was then allowed to go inside the room after putting on protective clothing. Natasha was gasping for air through the oxygen mask. I told her to try and relax and to breathe. The nurses were working around her and I didn’t want to be in the way, so I stepped back into the hallway. I didn’t know it at the time but that would be the last time I would look into my daughter’s eyes.

I was told that the nurses were waiting to hear if she was going to the ICU. I was surprised. I thought ICU? Why would she go there? Still, I had to trust the hospital. They told me they were taking Natasha to the ICU and that the doctor would contact me.

So I went outside and waited with my boyfriend, Darryl. Soon afterwards, an ICU doctor phoned us and said that they weren’t sure what was wrong with Natasha but were concerned that she had contracted COVID-19. They were going to put her on a ventilator to assist with her breathing as it was so strained. I asked if her problems could have anything to do with the cyst she had drained on October 2nd, and was told that this was the first he knew of it. He said this information could change things and that up until that point, they had thought it was COVID-19; which it was not.

We returned to Lions Gate and went to the ICU where we saw Natasha sedated in a glass room. There were two doctors with full face masks in the room with her. Although she was on a ventilator, I truly still believed that she would be okay. A couple of nurses gave us hope and reassured us that they had some of the most experienced doctors and hospital staff working on her.

Later the ICU doctor came to see us and told us that Natasha was very sick and they still didn’t know what was wrong with her. He said that they were going to put her on kidney dialysis and that we should probably go home and get some rest, as we were in for a marathon.

The worst day of my life began at 4:00 am the next day, which was Thanksgiving morning. I received a call from the hospital and the surgeon said they were concerned that she had Necrotizing fasciitis and wanted to do exploratory surgery. I gave my consent and hung up, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

Shortly before 7:00 am came the call that changed my life forever. Lions Gate Hospital called and asked me to come to the hospital right away. The person calling wouldn’t say why so I knew it was bad news.

We arrived at the ICU and saw a sea of expressionless faces. The ICU doctor came to see us and said that while Natasha was in surgery, she had a cardiac arrest. They tried to resuscitate her to no avail but her blood pressure kept dropping. They had lost her just before 7:00 am. He said that it was probably sepsis but that they would have to wait for an autopsy to know for certain. The ICU doctor wanted answers and so did we. How could a healthy 29-year-old die so quickly?

My lovely Natasha was gone. Our family and friends were completely shocked and devastated.

Once we received the autopsy report, we discovered that Natasha died as a result of an aggressive staph infection, which went septic. The staph infection had originated when they drained the cyst on October 2nd, and went undiagnosed in the three following hospital visits, including the final and last fatal visit. Had it been properly diagnosed and treated with antibiotics in any of these prior visits, Natasha could still be with us today. The hospital had multiple opportunities to consider options and properly diagnose Natasha, and they failed to do so. Their negligence is best illustrated by the fact that the hospital staff attempted to treat her serious condition with merely pain medication and sent her home. Therefore, we believe that Lions Gate Hospital did not sufficiently fulfill their duty of care to my daughter.

Maybe I’d be able to understand this situation if we didn’t have a world-class healthcare system, but the reality is that we do. It was also very upsetting how I was denied access to be an accompanying advocate for my daughter on the October 9th and October 10th visits. Perhaps, as a second set of eyes and ears, I could have brought up the cyst drainage from October 2nd, and the doctor might have explored the staph infection option. It didn’t seem to be even on their radar until I brought it to their attention in the final and fatal October 11-12th visit.

What happened to Natasha is completely unacceptable and truly shocking. We have heard that numerous nurses took stress leave due to this preventable tragedy and hopefully they are able to feel better and move on, but we cannot.

We filed a complaint with the College of Physicians against all doctors who were in charge of my daughter’s care, and are hoping for some accountability. In addition, many people have encouraged us to file legal action against the hospital and doctors who failed Natasha.

However, as we took steps to do so, we were informed by numerous lawyers about the outdated wrongful death law in BC from 1846. Yes, 1846! This law states that an individual must have an income and dependents in order for their families to access justice and compensation. Unlike all other provinces in Canada, British Columbia has not updated this law that disproportionately affects certain demographics such as children, seniors, and the disabled. This outdated law means that there is little anyone can do to gain justice for their loved ones if they fall into one of these categories.

Consequently, it conveys the message that the loss of a loved one means nothing. Their potential future means nothing. My life changing loss, as Natasha’s mum, has absolutely no value. I won’t see her get married or become a grandmother or have her take care of me as I get older. There is NO accountability and that needs to change now.

The healthcare system protects its own and the BC Wrongful Death Law needs to be changed immediately to allow families to seek justice and hold wrongdoers accountable when their negligence has resulted in a preventable death. Only when there is incentive for real accountability will hospital staff and doctors be properly retrained and new protocols put in place to prevent these tragedies from happening to others in the future.”

Media Coverage

CBC News: Mother demands justice for daughter who died of infection despite 4 hospital visits in 10 days

CTV News: B.C. mom wants justice after daughter dies from undiagnosed infection, despite multiple hospital visits

Global News: Family calling for answers, changes after death of 29-year-old woman in B.C. hospital

The Squamish Chief: Changes sought after daughter’s death

The Squamish Chief: EDITORIAL: BC wrongful death laws need to change

CKNW News Talk 980: Ann Forry & Darryl Hermary on The Jill Bennett Show

CKNW News Talk 980: BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society on The Jill Bennett Show

The Sun (UK): TURNED AWAY Woman, 29, dies of horror infection after docs misdiagnose her deadly cyst FOUR TIMES and sent her home

The Sun (UK): MUM’S AGONY Daughter said ‘don’t cry, mum’ in haunting last words before dying of infection docs missed THREE times

Mornings with Simi: Fighting for justice in wrongful death law

North Shore News: Mother seeks changes to wrongful death laws, saying daughter died at LGH from undiagnosed infection

Global News: Mother whose daughter died after being turned away from Lion’s Gate ER says system needs to be fixed

The Squamish Chief: Squamish local featured in advocacy campaign on Family Day


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 29-year-old Natasha Forry 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.

Natasha Forry, sadly, is one of these cases where no accountability can be brought against wrongdoers who failed in their duty of care. Her story can be read 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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