April 11, 2016 - 2:58 PM
KAMLOOPS - Family members say the 18-year-old subject of a coroner's inquest showed signs of serious mental illness before he died after an altercation with Kamloops RCMP.
At a coroner’s inquest that began today, April 11, Jacob Setah's aunt said she convinced him to speak to medical staff after noticing bizarre patterns her nephew displayed after a quadding accident. Valerie Setah said she became concerned of his increased aggression, his paranoid thoughts, lack of sleep and hallucinations. Family members started to worry about Jacob after he wrote a ‘very disturbing’ post on his Facebook wall, Valerie said.
“I turned to my nephew, I (asked) ‘are you hearing voices?’” she said. “He looked and me and said ‘yes, no.’"
In June 2014, Jacob escaped from a secure ward and was Tasered by Kamloops RCMP officers before he fell from the hospital parkade. He later died of his injuries. It will now be up to a five-person jury to determine what caused Setah’s death and whether or not it was accidental or suicidal. Their objective is not to find fault, but it may make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
Jacob was committed against his will under the Mental Health Act in Williams Lake but because of a lack of services to meet his medical needs, he was transferred to Royal Inland Hospital where he was placed in a secure ward under the observation of psychiatrist Dr. Bamidele Olabiyi.
Olabiyi said he initially characterized the behaviour as psychosis, but he planned to refine his diagnosis over a period of observation.
“When I met with him, it was quite challenging to obtain any relevant history. His thought process was quite disjointed. His insight was quite limited. He spoke about few things but not very much,” he said. "He did not understand his mental state."
To counter Jacob’s behaviour, Olabiyi prescribed three medications, one of which the patient was to take four times a day. If he refused, the medication would be forcibly injected.
Rodrick Mackenzie, counsel for the inquest, handed Olabiyi a toxicology report which demonstrated most of the drugs were not present in Jacob’s system at the time he was prescribed them.
Olabiyi said he did not know how the drugs metabolized, but said nurses would chart each time they administered the drugs. There was a possibility the youth was taking them and spitting them out, he said.
The doctor saw Jacob over three days, the last day being a Thursday. Setah died over the weekend when psychiatric doctors are on call at the hospital.
More than 30 witnesses are expected to testify including more doctors, another psychologist, a toxicologist and Interior Health staff. RCMP officers, an independent investigator, paramedics, hospital security personnel, a use of force expert and family of the deceased are also expected to testify.
RCMP members were previously investigated by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. and concluded the officers were justified in their use of force.
The inquest is slated to conclude April 15.
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