News Release Archive

The Nova Scotia Hospital received two reports this week regarding
the November 1996 death of Richard Albert Clarke, a patient in
the Provincial Forensic Psychiatry Service. One report was from
the medical examiner and another resulted from an external review
commissioned by the hospital.

Although staff need time to thoroughly review both reports,
findings from the medical examiner indicate death resulted from
medication toxicity with contributing factors of coronary artery
disease and obstructive sleep apnea.

"At the time of Mr. Clarke's death, he was on a complex
combination of medications," said Dr. Alec Hipwell, assistant
executive director of professional services. "Such a regime is
not unusual among a small number of mental health consumers with
complicated problems who exhibit extremely aggressive behaviours.

"After reviewing the full circumstances of the case, external
consultant Dr. Samuel Malcolmson, clinical chief forensic
services, Queen Street Mental Health Centre, and director
forensic services, METFORS, concluded he would not have expected
the final outcome of Mr. Clarke's admission. Despite the use of
multiple medications, he would not have anticipated that toxic
levels would be reached."

With the information from these reports, hospital staff will
complete an examination of the case to ensure any opportunities
for improvement are realized.

"The two reports will help us better understand the circumstances
of Mr. Clarke's death," said Hipwell. "We will be meeting with
the Clarke family who deserve answers regarding the tragic death
of their son."

The Provincial Forensic Psychiatry Service consists of two
inpatient units and has two distinct populations. It performs
assessments on individuals remanded by the courts for psychiatric
evaluation and provides treatment and rehabilitation services for
those found by the courts to be not criminally responsible for
their actions because of a mental illness. Access to and from the
units is controlled. No similar situation has occurred in the
service's 21-year history.


Contact: Linda McMaster
         Nova Scotia Hospital

trp                      May 28, 1997 - 1:05 p.m.