The final moments of Samwel Uko’s life are detailed in documents provided to his family. (Submitted)

‘We failed him:’ Saskatchewan health officials sorry over B.C. man’s drowning death

The final moments of Samwel Uko’s life have been detailed in documents provided to his family

A young man pleaded for help as he was being led out of a hospital by security before taking his own life in a lake on the Saskatchewan legislature grounds.

The final moments of Samwel Uko’s life are detailed in documents provided to his family as part of the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s review into his care at Regina General Hospital in May. The family shared the review with The Canadian Press.

“As he was being escorted out of the facility, video footage shows him calling, ‘I need help. I need help. I have mental-health issues,’” the review says.

Uko’s body was discovered in Wascana Lake a short time later.

The health authority says it has formally apologized to Uko’s family. A news conference is planned for Thursday afternoon.

“We are hurting and we are angry at the same time because this shouldn’t have happened. It’s insane what they did to him,” said Uko’s uncle Justin Nyee, who lives in Calgary.

“After about 45 minutes they decided to kick him out of the hospital. He was not fighting, he was not cursing. All he was doing is telling them ‘I need help.’”

Relatives say the 20-year-old man was visiting Saskatchewan from Abbotsford and voiced concerns about being sick and people coming after him. He sought help at the Regina General Hospital.

The health authority’s review says the young man presented came to the hospital on the morning of May 21 with “increasing depressive thoughts” and difficulty sleeping, but he denied thinking of self-harm.

It says he was connected with a mental-health clinic intake worker in the early afternoon and referred to an appointment with a psychiatrist within a week. He was told to contact a community outreach and support team or go back to the emergency room if he felt worse.

ALSO READ: Family of dead Abbotsford football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Hours later, the review says, he was brought back in by police. He had called 911 asking to go to hospital because he had mental-health issues.

The review says Uko was seated in a hallway between the registration and triage desks.

The desk clerk tried to get Uko to confirm he had been in for an earlier visit, but he did not, the review says. There was confusion over the last name he provided.

“The process for registration of an unidentified patient was not utilized.”

The health authority says that after police left, a security officer consulted with a triage nurse and a decision was made for four officers to remove Uko. He was not registered or seen by the triage desk.

Video showed him calling for help on the way out.

Uko’s death is to be the subject of a coroner’s inquest to be held at a later date.

In a letter to Uko’s family, health authority CEO Scott Livingstone says specific recommendations have been made as a result of the review, and the authority is committed to improving mental-health supports.

“I appreciate there are no words that can bring Samwel back, but I want you to know that we recognize how deeply we failed him,” it reads.

“Your vibrant young son sought help from us and we failed to provide him with the timely assistance he needed.”

Nyee said he doesn’t want his nephew’s death to be in vain.

“There is a feeling of going forward and it will be good and better for someone else, to save someone else’s life,” Nyee said.

“I’m not saying the word satisfied, but we kind of understand in that sense they’re trying to do the best they can to help the situation.”

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Campbell River softball player takes game to Division 1 university

Saje Kurpiela to pitch for University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Share your thoughts on proposed Quinsam Heights Official Community Plan changes

The City of Campbell River is seeking public feedback on a proposal… Continue reading

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read