Moncton’s Muslim community honors ‘dearest person’ who died in ER waiting room

Friends and family of a Moncton man who died earlier this week in the emergency room of Moncton Hospital held a gathering at the hospital on Saturday.

The father of five is identified only by the initials MS to protect his family’s privacy. He died in hospital after collapsing in the emergency room.

Abdul Khan, the president of the Moncton Muslim Association, said the man was known as an “integral part” of Moncton’s Muslim community and will be greatly missed.

“He used to come to the mosque and he was the sweetest person in the world,” Khan said.

“He will come smiling and I never saw him smile. He was a very patient man who [would] never complain.”

MS left behind his partner, his children and a wide circle of family and friends.

Mohammed Tom, who was close to MS, said MS was someone who cared for his family and the wider community. He doesn’t know what they’re going to do now.

Abdul Khan, president of the Moncton Muslim Association, said MS was known as an “integral part” of Moncton’s Muslim community and will be sorely missed. (Aniekan Etuhube/CBC)

“We don’t have a leader,” said Tom. “We have no guidance.”

New details

New details about the situation surrounding the man’s death have come to light, both through interviews with friends and family, but also through a statement from the association.

According to a post on the association’s Facebook page on Friday, the man was released from hospital on Monday after undergoing medical surgery.

He was instructed to return to the hospital immediately if he experienced back or chest pain.

He reported to the emergency room at Moncton Hospital at 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to the statement.

Dozens of people gathered outside Moncton Hospital on Saturday to protest the man’s death. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

He underwent some tests, but was told to wait in the waiting room by midnight.

He was dead at 3:30 AM

“Witnesses report that he told hospital staff several times during his stay that he believed he was dying,” the statement said.

On Thursday, Dr. Serge Melanson, Horizon Health’s emergency services clinical lead, said the patient had been “appropriately treated as an emergency priority.”

The ER was “in critical overcapacity” at the time, he said, so the patient was placed in the main waiting room “until a suitable exam room became available.”

Horizon has independently released no further information about MS.

However, Melanson said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Questions why?

The man’s death has put a new spotlight on the county’s struggling health care system.

It comes after years of temporary ward closures, pleas from various ERs for patients to stay away, and at least one other instance of someone dying in a hospital ER awaiting treatment.

Tom said the protest is bigger than MS or the Muslim community in Moncton. He said it is about the sad state of health care in the province.

Mohammed Tom, who was close to MS, said MS was someone who cared for his immediate family and the wider community. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

“We speak for all Canadian people [who are] die here,” said Tom.

Khan said the province should put more money into health care and do more to reduce waiting times.

“Let’s say they have to commit to reducing emergency room waiting time from 12 hours to two hours, something like that, within six months,” Khan said.

“That’s something they should give us.”

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