Jury recommends better response measures after woman dies at Riverview

A coroner's inquest jury has made five recommendations after a Riverview Hospital patient was found dead on the grounds several days after she went missing.

Patricia Donna Reed, 59, had been involuntarily committed to the hospital due to depression and mental illness. She was reported missing on Feb. 9, 2011 but wasn't found during a staff search of the grounds.

Testimony heard during the inquest offered insight into the haphazard search, which seemed to have no leader or person in charge.

Reed's body was discovered by a patient five days later in a ditch, not far from the building where she'd been housed. The coroner ruled her death accidental, due to exposure.

The jury's recommendations to provincial health authorities and the Ministry of Health include:

• ensuring a co-ordinated response to missing patients among nurses, staff, security guards and police, with a designated response co-ordinator;

• reviewing sign-out privileges for involuntary psychiatric patients to ensure only those with permission are able to leave the facility, with technology such as swipe cards and GPS units;

• adopting a new "code yellow" for missing patients;

• and reviewing and testing procedures annually.


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