Death of senior at Montreal General "unfortunate accident": coroner

A Quebec coroner says the death of a seniors home resident in a hallway of the Montreal General Hospital almost eight months ago was an unfortunate accident.

Edward Montgomery, 65, was at the Montreal General Hospital for his regular hemodialysis treatment in January 2014 when he went missing that night. His taxi driver was unable to locate Montgomery and drive him back to the Centre d'hébergement Yvon-Brunet.

Montogomery was later found dead in an area where clinic services were located but isolated late at night.

Quebec coroner Paul Dionne says that Montgomery was in very poor health and that it was a natural death. Montgomery had left the waiting area before the taxi driver arrived, got disoriented and wandered into that isolated sector of the hospital.

While Dionne says that this may not have happened if Montgomery had been accompanied, the coroner adds that the routine appointments went on for several weeks without incident except for two disappearances which were never reported to the long term care home. Dionne does say that better communication could have changed the protocol. The coroner notes that the long term care home had provided excellent care and evaluated that Montgomery didn't need someone to accompany him.

The coroner says it's unfortunate that this happened with such well-established protocols that worked well in the past.

The hospital is now looking at improving measures to look after such vulnerable patients.

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