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Inquest called into death of psychiatric patient

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

SEAN McKIBBON

IQALUIT — The chief coroner of the Northwest Territories will hold an inquest into the apparent suicide death of a Kugluktuk man ata Yellowknife hospital.

“The coroner in the case felt an inquest would be appropriate,” said Percy Kinney, the NWT’s chief coroner.

Alf Ivarluk, 30, of Kugluktuk, was a patient in the psychiatric unit of Stanton Regional Hospital in Yellowknife.

Ivarluk was found hanging in the shower area of his room on Jan. 7 by hospital staff, Kinney said.

It is not clear if Ivarluk had ever attempted suicide before, Kinney said.

“That point isn’t as clear as I thought it would be in this case,” he said. The exact circumstances of Ivarluk’s death will be brought forward at the inquest, he said. Kinney said he did not want to talk about the details of the case until the inquest.

“I think that would be the appropriate forum,” he said.

Inquests are relatively rare in the Northwest Territories, said Kinney. Some inquests are mandatory, for example, in instances where a person dies while detained by police, or when a person is in the custody of an institution, he said. Other inquests are optional.

“This one would be discretionary,” Kinney said.

No date has been set for the inquest yet, but an inquest probably won’t get underway until the summer, he said.

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