Nurse says she thought man who later died of toxin was ‘a drinker’

A nurse testified that a man who died of methanol poisoning at the Red Deer Remand Centre needed to be sent to hospital, but his condition wasn’t considered an emergency.

A nurse testified that a man who died of methanol poisoning at the Red Deer Remand Centre needed to be sent to hospital, but his condition wasn’t considered an emergency.

Shelly Grant, a registered nurse, said on Wednesday that when she examined Boris Leon Marianych about 8:45 a.m. on Feb. 20, 2007, he was confused and experiencing vision problems.

Grant told the Red Deer fatality inquiry that she found the 51-year-old Red Deer man had a “slightly elevated” blood pressure but his breathing and temperature were normal.

Marianych told her he wasn’t in pain, Grant testified.

Grant, who has been a nurse for 38 years, said Marianych complained of vision difficulty but she attributed that to a belief the man was feeling the impact of alcohol detoxification.

“My concern was that he was probably a drinker and might be in withdrawal, which goes along with drinking.”

Grant said a report prepared by remand centre staff who received him the previous night about 10:15 p.m. indicated Marianych hadn’t taken alcohol or drugs during that day.

Grant said she had never cared for a person with methanol poisoning and didn’t know its symptoms.

Marianych was arrested the previous day by RCMP on an outstanding warrant.

Grant said she talked to psychologist Bruce Handley of Red Deer, who was asked to examine Marianych for possible mental health problems.

However, Handley told Grant he couldn’t finish his exam because Marianych said he couldn’t see. Handley visited Marianych sometime between 7 and 8:30 a.m.

Grant testified Handley also said Marianych should be examined in hospital.

Grant said she performed her exam to complete paperwork in preparation for Marianych being taken to hospital.

She said she promptly contacted Dr. John Bromley, who was conducting medical rounds at the centre.

Grant said Bromley concurred that Marianych should be tested in hospital but it wasn’t an emergency, based on her findings.

“There was no indication from the vital signs to call an ambulance and consider it an emergency,” Grant said.

Arrangements were then made around 9:30 a.m. with Randy Podloski, remand centre deputy director of operations, to have Marianych transported to hospital.

Podloski testified he contacted an off-duty correction officer who was coming into the centre around 10 a.m. to take Marianych to hospital, accompanied by another officer on duty.

However, Marianych was noticed to be in distress at 10:12 a.m. in his cell in the centre’s admitting and discharge section.

Judge Bert Skinner heard earlier Marianych was coughing up blood and other “debris” and his heart had stopped when two nurses and other officers attempted to revive him.

Skinner heard that centre policy has changed regarding officers checking inmates in the discharge and admitting area following an earlier internal review.

The policy is now for officers to check every 15 minutes on an inmate’s condition.

Dr. Peter Singer, deputy chief toxicologist for the Alberta Medical Examiners’s Office, said earlier that drinking methanol in small amounts is dangerous. Singer said methanol raises the acid level in the body and can blind a person and impair breathing.

The inquiry wraps up on May 20 with Bromley’s testimony.

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