Watson Lake death spurs outside investigation

Investigators with the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team are looking into the death of a man at the Watson Lake Hospital.

Investigators with the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team are looking into the death of a man at the Watson Lake Hospital.

Early Wednesday morning the RCMP was called to the hospital to help with a patient, police say.

The territory’s coroner has identified the man as 26-year-old Darren Johnny from Watson Lake.

“Police assisted hospital staff in the provision of medical care and during this process the patient became unresponsive.” RCMP said in a statement. CPR was started right away but Johnny died.

“As a police officer had been engaged with the patient just prior to the time of death, Yukon RCMP, in consultation with the Government of Yukon, have requested an independent investigation of this matter be conducted by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.”

ASIRT, a civilian organization called in to investigate incidents involving police, was expected to arrive yesterday.

According to coroner Kirsten Macdonald, Johnny had been feeling unwell for a few days before he went to hospital at about Tuesday morning.

While there he suddenly went into medical distress and stopped breathing, she said.

He was pronounced dead at about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Macdonald said Johnny’s body will be sent to Vancouver today. An autopsy is expected early next week.

Meanwhile, the Yukon Hospital Corporation says it’s conducting its own review of what happened.

Spokesperson James Low said he couldn’t comment on the case that is being investigated.

Low insisted the investigation prevents him from talking, even in a general sense, about hospital policy for when police are called. “When I comment on general policies, they will sort of allude to the case,” he said.

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