Skip to main content

Chief Coroner launches investigation into 'sudden and unexpected' death of child at Ontario hospital


Ontario’s Chief Coroner has launched an investigation following the “sudden and unexpected” death of a child at an Ontario hospital on Tuesday.

The death took place at Lakeridge Health Ajax Pickering Hospital, however no other details have been provided.

"Due to patient privacy, we are unable to comment further," Sharon Navarro, Manager of Public Relations and Digital Communications at Lakeridge, told CTV News.

"However, speculation in the absence of facts can be damaging, particularly to families and staff. Lakeridge Health remains proud of the collaborative efforts and incredible dedication of the skilled professionals in our organization and community who support the very best, person-centred care every day."

A spokesperson for Ontario’s Chief Coroner said their office investigates when a death is sudden and unexpected.

“So the death of a two-year-old may not merit an investigation if there was a known recorded disease process,” Stephanie Rea, Issues Manager at the Office of the Chief Coroner, told CTV News Toronto.

“For example, if a child had been admitted to a hospital for a health reason and subsequently died, a coroner would not necessarily be called to investigate as medical records would chronicle the cause and manner of death.”

Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones responded to the death at a news conference on Thursday, noting that she “cannot imagine how challenging this must be” for both the child’s family and the caregivers who were present.

“I will let the investigation in the hospital do the work they need to do to communicate with that family, but I don't think any of us can comprehend how deeply saddened we are when we hear about the death of a patient,” Jones said.

A spokesperson for Lakeridge, meanwhile, was not able to elaborate on the circumstances of the child’s death.

In an interview with CTV News Toronto Dr. Doris Grinspun, Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, said that everything possible was done immediately to save the life of the child.

“I’m very hopeful that the situation is unrelated to the crisis that is in our hands all over the province and that this is the condition in which the child came to the hospital,” she said.

“But nonetheless, the tragedy is there.”

The death investigation launched by Ontario’s Chief Coroner comes as a number of pediatric hospitals in Ontario struggle to keep up with an influx of patients with respiratory viruses, including RSV and influenza. 

With files from CTV News' Heather Butts Top Stories

Stay Connected