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Man dies of heart attack in Saskatoon Cancer Centre parking lot, prompting investigation

Man dies of heart attack in Saskatoon Cancer Centre parking lot, prompting investigation

The family of a man who died this week in the parking lot of the Saskatoon Cancer Centre says staff refused to come out and help and declined to call 911.

Family of Thomas Edward Rogerson say staff refused their pleas to call 911 or come out and help

Thomas Edward Rogerson died of a heart attack Tuesday in the parking lot just outside the Saskatoon Cancer Centre. His family says staff there refused to help.(Supplied by Dora Mae Rogerson)

The family of a man who died this week in the parking lot of the Saskatoon Cancer Centre is outraged.

Thomas Edward Rogerson's family says staff refused to come out and help and declined to call 911. The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, which oversees the centre, is investigating but declined further comment.

"This is just crazy. How could this happen? They were right there," Rogerson's nephew Mark said Friday.

Saskatchewan Cancer Agency officials are investigating after a man died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday in the parking lot next to their building.(Jason Warick/CBC)

On Tuesday afternoon, 80-year-old Dora Mae Rogerson had just finished radiation therapy for bone cancer.

Her 60-year-old son Thomas had driven her there for two days of treatment. He cared for Dora Mae in the Kindersley home they shared since her husband died six years ago.

Dora Mae said they'd parked in the accessible parking stall a few metres from the centre's secondary entrance. After the treatment, Thomas walked Dora Mae back to the car. Once inside, she noticed her son's door wasn't completely closed.

Dora Mae Rogerson says she's angry Saskatoon Cancer Centre staff wouldn't come out to help after her son suffered a fatal heart attack just outside the clinic Tuesday.(Supplied by Dora Mae Rogerson)

He closed it. Then she saw his head fall back. She thought he may just be resting before the drive home. She called his name. Then she shook him. She went outside, opened his door and tried again. He remained unresponsive.

Dora Mae said she rushed back in to the cancer centre.

"I was upset and I went in and I was crying. I was shaking because I was freezing. I said 'I need some help out there. I think my son passed out on me or whatever. I can't get him to revive,' " she said.

Dora Mae said they first asked if her son was a patient at the cancer centre and she told them no. She said they refused to come outside, refused to call 911 for her and told her to go outside and call 911 herself.

"There were four women sitting there and a man standing there. I'm sure one of them could've phoned 911 for me," she said.

Thomas Edward Rogerson was parked here Tuesday, preparing to drive his mother home from bone cancer treatment, when he had a fatal heart attack. His mother says officials, just feet away inside an entrance, refused to come out and help.(Jason Warick/CBC)

Dora Mae said she went back outside. She was cold, panicked and had just completed an exhausting round of radiation therapy. She said she called a friend, who then called 911.

She stood in the cold beside the car and waited for the ambulance. Her son was taken away and pronounced dead.

In an email to CBC News, officials at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency extended condolences to the family and said it's investigating the matter. The agency said officials will take any action necessary once the investigation is complete and declined further comment.

Cancer agency officials emailed the official policy covering any people who become injured or unwell on health region grounds. It states staff are obligated to "provide a prompt and safe response that ensures the individual receives appropriate care."

Staff are required to stay with the patient until paramedics or other relevant caregivers arrive.

About the Author

Jason Warick is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.

    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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