Man had vision problems: inquiry

A nurse who attended a man dying of methanol poisoning at the Red Deer Remand Centre said he may have had a better chance if he had been transported to hospital immediately after he complained of having vision problems.

A nurse who attended a man dying of methanol poisoning at the Red Deer Remand Centre said he may have had a better chance if he had been transported to hospital immediately after he complained of having vision problems.

Lisa Nault, a registered nurse, testified on Tuesday at a fatality inquiry that Boris Leon Marianych, 51, of Red Deer, should have seen a doctor or been sent to hospital once he complained of having vision difficulties.

Marianych died on Feb. 20, 2007, after he had been lodged at the Remand Centre about 10:15 p.m. the previous night.

Nault said she learned from a remand officer that when Marianych was admitted, he hadn’t complained about any health problems.

Correction officers Earl Simensen and Larry Schulhauser both testified that Marianych appeared lucid and complied with directions when he was admitted on Feb. 19.

Neither noticed any signs of intoxication.

Schulhauser asked Marianych if he had consumed any alcohol or drugs that day.

“Not today,” Schulhauser said Marianych told him.

Nault testified that the change in Marianych’s vision overnight should have indicated something wasn’t right and that he be seen by a doctor or sent to hospital.

Nault said Marianych told an officer that he wanted to see a nurse around 8:30 a.m.

The other nurse saw him and started her report on him about 8:45 a.m.

However, a doctor was coming on his regular remand rounds about 9:30 a.m. so it was decided Marianych could be checked then.

He was also checked by a psychologist around 7:45 a.m. on his regular rounds but he couldn’t complete the assessment because Marianych couldn’t see.

Nault said it was not deemed an emergency at the time.

Nault said she was assisting the doctor on his rounds when another nurse checked Marianych.

A code alarm for Marianych was sounded at 10:10 a.m. but he couldn’t be revived by Nault or Red Deer Emergency Services fire-medics who attended.

There was no indication that Marianych was suffering from the affects of drinking methanol when he was arrested by police and eventually placed in the centre, the inquiry heard on Monday.

Dr. Peter Singer, deputy chief toxicologist for the Alberta Medical Examiners’s Office, told the inquiry on Monday that the common cause of ingesting methanol is drinking window washer fluid.

Singer said drinking methanol in small amounts is dangerous. he said methanol raises the acid level in the body and can blind a person and impair breathing.

Singer said he wouldn’t have been surprised to see Marianych appear normal before the drop off.

The inquiry was called to determine the identity of the deceased, the date, time and place of death, and the circumstances of death.

Once the inquiry is complete the judge provides a written report to the Justice Department. The judge may make recommendations for the prevention of similar incidents, but can’t make any findings of legal responsibility. The inquiry before provincial court Judge Bert Skinner is expected to last through today.

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