Friday, July 25, 2014

The Long Wait for Answers

For the first time since Anya's death, the 19th of this month came and went rather unceremoniously. It's not that we forgot - we acknowledged having reached another month. Month seven. But we didn't feel forced to do something about it. I don't know why, but it would feel sad to call that progress, even though it likely is an important step.

As we reached this seventh's month, I took a look at the list of topics that I had intended to tackle when I first started this blog. The glaring omission from this list, to this day, is the autopsy result. It's something that I get asked about fairly regularly, and I know that we're not the only ones curious to get answers.

I wish we had answers. I even wish we had 'Unknown' as an answer. But for over seven months, we have been waiting to get these results, and they have yet to come. That's because the process for a coroner's investigation takes, according to the Bureau du coroner du Québec, 12 months on average. Because Anya's death was 'obscure' (according to their definition), this is a process that we were forced to go through.

The one and only time I spoke to someone from the coroner's office was late in the afternoon of December 19th. I had had a sleepless night (Kayleigh had gone into labour at 11pm on the 18th), and had been spending the only day I could in the hospital with my deceased daughter. Truth be told, I don't remember exactly what was said - I consented to Anya's remains being sent to Montreal for an autopsy. I thought I had understood that the autopsy results would be available in 7 or 8 weeks, but clearly I must have been wrong.

It was all a very matter-of-fact process. There was going to be not only an autopsy, but an investigation. That's good, I thought. The more we can find out, the more information we'll be able to act on in the future. Maybe this will help inform how to prevent this in the future.

But they did not tell me it might take a year. That I know. My impression that there was a well-organized system - one that cares about giving mourning parents a timely answer - is long-gone. As we start to look to the future, it would be nice to know what went wrong. If it was going to take a year, we should have been told, and we should have had the option of going with a faster route - a hospital autopsy.

Instead, here we are. Seven months later, no answers. Anya's autopsy results are just part of the paperwork buried at a department that is clearly either overloaded, understaffed, or both. They'll get to it when they can. Calling them doesn't seem to change that. Heck, the folks they deal with are already dead- what reason could there possibly be to rush?

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