Settlement reached for death of Nunavut infant
Government of Nunavut, parents of Cape Dorset baby Makibi Timilak reach agreement
A wrongful death lawsuit lodged against the Government of Nunavut and a former Nunavut nurse over the 2012 death of a Cape Dorset infant has been settled, the lawyer for the deceased child’s family said on Feb. 5.
Details of a recent settlement reached in that lawsuit, filed in July of 2014 by the parents of Makibi Olayuk Timilak, who died at the age of three months, are confidential, according to a court order dated Dec. 17.
“It’s over, everything is settled and finished,” lawyer Anne Crawford told Nunatsiaq News. “There has been a settlement. I cannot advise you of any terms.”
In the court order, made by out-of-territory judge Colleen Suche, terms from one document do say that a payment of $35,000 will be made to the parents, in trust through Crawford.
Baby Makibi died at the Baffin community of around 1,500 on April 5, 2012. A coroner’s inquest was held into the death in 2016. The cause of death was deemed undetermined, though talk surrounding the Baby Makibi’s death referenced sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and high rates of respiratory illnesses among children in Nunavut.
The parents, Neevee Akesuk and Luutaaq Qaumagiaq, filed their case against the GN for damages that followed their child’s death. The parents also alleged that the medical staff at the community health centre were negligent and unprepared. The GN looked to have the case dismissed in 2015, and in 2017 made a motion to have the couple cover the government’s legal fees for the wrongful death lawsuit.
During the coroner’s inquest, Akesuk said that when she called the health centre to say her child was crying and coughing often, the health centre nurse, Debbie McKeown, had told her to come in the next day.
It is GN policy that health centres see infants when a problem is reported after hours.
A report that followed an independent legal investigation into the child’s death made 47 recommendations to the GN for how similar deaths could be avoided in future. These same kinds of changes were referenced during a more recent coroner’s inquest into another infant death in Iqaluit.