Coroner confirms hypothermia in death of Kamloops homeless man | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Coroner confirms hypothermia in death of Kamloops homeless man

A homeless Kamloops man, known on the streets as Sam Mack, died outside in early November.
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A Kamloops man found outside in the cold downtown died of hypothermia.

He was homeless, not only found out of his wheelchair but also unclothed, and discovered downtown on a November 2021 night.

Known as Sam Mack, he went into cardiac arrest and died, despite attempts to warm him, according to a BC Coroners Service report. reported on his death that winter.

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The coroners service redacted Mack's name from the report, but confirmed his death through others he knew on the streets and outreach workers. We could not confirm his first name, but he was known on the streets as "Sam" or "Uncle Sam."

Alfred Achoba, of Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops, confirmed in December 2022 that outreach staff found a man outside, who was known to periodically visit shelters.

"It was a client we were very fond of and knew for many years," Achoba said at the time, without confirming Mack's name. spoke with two of his friends in January 2022, who remembered him fondly. They spent time with him over his last few years, often downtown near the Plaza Hotel.

"He was a smart guy, but he got sold a short deal with losing his leg and stuff," Dwayne Furuseth said at the time. "He started using opiates and really started drinking when he lost his leg. But he never lost that spirit of his. He was always such a good... guy, and if I could communicate anything about him, it's that he was a good man."

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Mack was an amputee, needing a wheelchair to get around. He could often be found wheeling around downtown.

When an outreach worker found him on Nov. 2, 2021, he was unclothed and "semi-responsive" on the sidewalk, according to the coroners report.

When paramedics got there, they found he was "cold to the touch and heavily intoxicated" before they took him to Royal Inland Hospital.

Although coroner Laura Harding found he had a "life-threatening" amount of alcohol in his system and that "contributed to" his hypothermia, it wasn't the alcohol that directly killed him.

It was hypothermia and his exposure to cold, according to Harding's report.

There was also no foul play in his death. While his lack of clothing wasn't explained or explored in the report, it may be related to a phenomenon called "paradoxical undressing," where victims of extreme hypothermia undress in its final stages.

The coroners service released the report on May 13, six months after it was completed and two-and-a-half years after Mack's death.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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