Parents blame broken mental health system months after daughter froze to death in the street
The parents of a Canadian have spoken out months after she froze to death on the streets during a mental health crisis following her early discharge from hospital.
Irina and Mike Andriychuk criticized Nova Scotia’s mental health system following the death of their 32-year-old daughter, Yuliya, on Nov. 14, 2022, Global News reported. The grieving parents said Yuliya, a psychology student, was repeatedly and prematurely discharged from mental health facilities in the province without medication or follow-up appointments.
“We are very frustrated with the system and very angry,” Ms Andriychuk told Global News in an exclusive interview. “We lost our daughter to, in fact, an appalling healthcare system.”
Yuliya died of hypothermia after wandering the streets of Dartmouth in freezing temperatures. She had left the emergency room after a crisis a week and a half before the tragedy and had just learned that one of her appointments had been canceled.
Ms Andriychuk told the outlet that they have already filed several complaints with hospitals and clinics alleging that staff have failed to consistently provide Yuliya with adequate treatment since her condition began in 2020.
After Yuliya first showed signs of mental distress two years ago, she spent two weeks at the QEII’s Abbie J Lane Memorial Building before being turned away by staff who allegedly failed to inform her parents.
For the first few months, Yuliya was supervised by her family at all times, with her father even taking her to work with him, according to Global News. She was again taken to hospital in October 2021 after suffering a second episode of mental health.
“After three days, the hospital called us and told us that they had lost our daughter,” Ms Andriychuk told the outlet. “We were in shock. How is it possible.”
After writing a complaint, Yuliya briefly received the medication and care that her parents had requested. She spent a month in the facility and was allowed to visit her parents for the weekend.
Yuliya later told her parents that when she returned she found that another patient had taken her bed.
The Andriychuks again took Yuliya into their custody to make sure she was not in danger.
They say Yuliya was showing signs of improvement for the first half of 2022 before having another meltdown in November. After spending three days in the emergency room, Yuliya was released despite her parents’ pleas.
Yuliya allegedly told the doctor that her medication was not working and that she had not slept for five days.
“She was in a very bad state, it showed on her face. She didn’t want to talk,” Ms Andriychuk told Global News of a conversation she had with Yulliya on a video call a week and a half after she was discharged from the ER. “She left the house and we never saw her again.”
Yuliya allegedly told her parents that a mental health appointment had been cancelled. His body was found the next day.
The Andriychuks wrote a letter to Nova Scotia Health Minister Michelle Thompson asking for improved mental health care so a similar tragedy never happens again. They said their daughter could have lived a happy life with the help of medicine, but the broken system let her down.
A review is underway by health authorities
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