Family demands answers about man’s death
The former spouse of a man who died of a heart attack at the Red Deer Remand Centre in 2009 refuses to give up her efforts to find out more details surrounding his death.
In late 2009, Alberta’s Fatality Review Board recommended that a fatality inquiry not be held.
“As far as they were concerned it was natural causes,” said Carole Korth of Hughenden, a village located about 240 km east of Red Deer.
Terrence Douglas Poulton, 49, died on Jan. 21, 2009, inside a cell. He had been arrested a few hours earlier.
A Calgary medical examiner’s autopsy report revealed that Poulton died of atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, and that the prescription painkiller oxycodone may have contributed to his death. The drug level was higher than expected for the prescribed dose and may have resulted in him appearing intoxicated.
Poulton was arrested after police found him in a snowbank near a road.
Under the Fatality Inquiries Act, the board can decide against holding an inquiry if it’s satisfied the death was due to natural causes and could not be prevented, and that the public would not be served by a public inquiry; or that there was no meaningful connection between the death and the nature or quality of care or supervision that was provided.
Korth said not knowing the details is eating away at her family, including the couple’s twin 18-year-old daughters, and attempts to get more information have been unsuccessful.
“We left it alone for three years and there’s still no closure. It still bothers us. We want to know what happened that night. Why can’t we know? We’re his family.”
They want to know if Poulton actually was arrested or just being housed, what time he arrived at remand, how often staff checked on him, and why he wasn’t taken to hospital instead of remand, she said.
The autopsy report said that emergency medical services personnel were called to Poulton’s cell but resuscitation was unsuccessful.
“I think there was a heck of a lot they could have done. He would have asked to go to the hospital.”
Korth said she may go to court to access police and remand files.