Teen’s death not due to COVID: Alberta’s top doctor retracts

CALGARY — Alberta’s top doctor is retracting information on the death of a teen from earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported that a 14-year-old had passed away from COVID-19. Since then, Hinshaw says she has received further information that proved the details around the teen’s death to be incorrect.

“While the initial report of the death of the 14-year-old included COVID as a secondary cause we have now received additional information that indicates COVID was not a cause of death,” Hinshaw said Thursday.

WATCH: Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides an update on COVID-19 in Alberta.

She publicly apologized to the teen’s family after concerns were raised on various social media platforms regarding the cause of death.

“The pain of losing a child is terrible enough without having that loss compounded by a public debate about the circumstances. I am sorry if the way that I spoke about that death made your grief worse since the start of this pandemic.”

Hinshaw says in the province’s reporting, it “always includes all deaths that have COVID as either a primary or secondary cause of death.”

“For example, a primary cause would be someone in whom COVID infection progresses to pneumonia, and this is the direct cause of death,” she explained. “A secondary cause could be a case where someone with a severe underlying illness, such as heart failure, gets COVID and the infection makes their pre-existing condition worse, leading to death.”

Hinshaw says should a further review show that COVID was not a cause, that death will be removed from the province’s totals.

“This incident has caused suffering for many. And again, I apologize for this. We are making changes to prevent similar situations in the future,” Hinshaw said.

In the future, she says the province will not report any COVID deaths among any minors until the death is fully reviewed.

“I want to assure everyone that these reviews are always done in cases of any uncertainty so the overall COVID numbers we have been reporting are as accurate as possible. However, it is clear that we need a different process for young people, and we have put that in place now.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today