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Health Canada names leaders of investigation of switched babies at Norway House Hospital

A doctor from Ontario and a former health region CEO from Saskatchewan will lead an independent review into how four babies were switched at birth in two incidents at the Norway House Hospital in the 1970s, Health Canada announce Nov. 24. Dr.

A doctor from Ontario and a former health region CEO from Saskatchewan will lead an independent review into how four babies were switched at birth in two incidents at the Norway House Hospital in the 1970s, Health Canada announce Nov. 24.

Dr. David Creery, a pediatric intensive care physician and the medical director of patient safety at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, as well as an investigating coroner for the City of Ottawa, will oversee the review with Maura Davies, former president and CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region. They will be assisted by Dr. Calvin James Bergen, the family doctor of two of the men who did not leave the hospital with their biological families. The review will include examination of hospital records and contact with people involved in the hospital at the time of the incidents. It is intended to clarify the circumstances of the cases and is expected to be completed by early 2017.

“The department is confident that Dr. Creery and Ms. Davies – with the support and collaboration of Dr. Bergen – will conduct this review in a manner that is sensitive to and respectful of the affected individuals, their families and communities,” said Health Canada’s statement announcing the review. “The results of this review will be made public.”

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott met with three of the four men – Luke Monias, Norman Barkman, Leon Swanson and David Tait Jr. – for three hours in Winnipeg Nov. 21, along with their relatives and indigenous leaders, including former Keewatinook NDP MLA Eric Robinson, who said the federal government should apologize to the men in the House of Commons.

“The Department of Health takes this issue very seriously and is committed to supporting the individuals and families affected by these traumatic events,” said Health Canada’s statement. “The minister of health met with the individuals, their families and their representatives to discuss these incidents and to understand the impacts on the men. Health Canada has committed to engaging the services of independent third parties, who will review the circumstances that led to these incidents.”

The RCMP announced Oct. 7 that it was initiating an investigation into the two cases of babies being switched.

“While the RCMP’s activities are separate from Health Canada’s review, the department will fully cooperate with this investigation,” said Health Canada’s statement.