ESTHER'S VOICE
Photo of Esther Elsa Winckler spacer image
An Introduction
Coroner's Judgement of Inquiry
Medical Response
Our Journal
What We Want
What have we learned?
Contact Us
spacer image
Esther Elsa Winckler - November 17, 1922 - March 5, 2000
Our mother, Esther Winckler, died March 5th, 2000 following elective hip replacement surgery and 15 days of well-documented medical neglect at Chilliwack General Hospital, British Columbia. From the very beginning, there were questions surrounding her death. Two years and two months later, we received a Judgement of Inquiry from the Coroner's Office that substantiated our family's concerns. There was excellent and comprehensive coverage in The Vancouver Sun newspaper summarizing the events. Yet the official medical response to the Judgement of Inquiry has been mixed. While the RNABC and new Fraser Valley Health Authority took a refreshingly open stand, working with our family to find answers and implement change, the College of Physicians & Surgeons did not feel the case warranted going past Peer Review to disciplinary action or any follow-up practice recommendations whatsoever. This was a great disappointment to us as we had hoped that taking the spectre of litigation out of the equation would open up the possibilities for frank dialogue and disclosure. For our familyís part, we have been absolutely overwhelmed by new programs initiated following our motherís death called the Acute Care Geriatric Nurse Network (ACGNN) and the Geriatric Emergency Nursing Initiative (GENI) founded by RNABC clinical nurse specialists Marcia Carr, Phyllis Hunt and other talented change-makers. It began as a collaborative group of 12 Clinical Nurse Specialists in Geriatrics, Orthopedics, and Rehabilitation who received funding, provided the learning opportunities, and supported the Network which has now grown to over 2,000 Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses. Read more in the December 2004 issue of Nursing BC, in the December 2, 2004 Vancouver Sun; in an excellent follow-up story in Fraser Health's infocus magazine Winter 2009 called "Dying to be Heard," and most recently in the 2013 release of the book After the Error: Speaking Out about Patient Safety to Save Lives by Susan McIver and Robin Wyndham (ECW Press). We are very grateful for their efforts and feel that this is truly a legacy to our mother, herself a lifelong educator.