Cohesion needed when dealing with intoxicated people: coroner

Cathy Menard, the territory's chief coroner.
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Cathy Menard, the territory’s chief coroner, is calling for improved communication between a number of agencies following the death of a man in custody last year.

On Oct. 16, Wilfred Emile, 66, was detained for public intoxication in the community of Fort Smith.

RELATED: NWT coroner to hold inquest into death of man in custody

While in custody, police say he became unresponsive and was transported to the town’s health centre where he received ‘significant medical intervention.’

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He was later medevaced to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton where he received diagnostic and supportive medical care.

On Oct. 21, Emile was brought back to Fort Smith where he died five days later on Oct. 26.

Following his death, an external review conducted by the Medicine Hat Police Service found that police did not use force while handling him.

Menard later concluded that Emile died of natural causes due to complications arising from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

On Tuesday, Menard held an inquest into Emile’s death in the community where he died. A number of recommendations have come out of that inquest.

They include establishing ‘a mutually agreed upon procedure for dealing with individuals displaying symptoms consistent with a dangerous level of intoxication.’

She’s also recommending that any procedures be clearly communicated to police, health officials and other relevant stakeholders in the community.

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