Today was last day of the coroner’s inquest into the death of Alyssa George.
Dr. Robert Saunders is an emergency room physician who works in the BC Coroners Service Medical Unit.
He testified that Alyssa had alcoholic ketoacidosis, which occurs when a malnourished person consumes a large amount of alcohol over a long period.
Dr. Saunders testified that if Alyssa received medical intervention at 9:45pm on September 3 2013, when she was seen staggering in her cell, and unable to hold her meal plate steady, there was a good chance of saving her life at that point.
But he points out, for a layperson without extensive medical training, it would be impossible determine just how serious her medical condition was without taking her to the hospital.
He said the RCMP’s rousability test is a good measure of health, and if it was administered to Alyssa at that time, it should have alerted the guards and officers that she needed immediate medical attention.
He admits it’s a difficult judgement call because each individual has a different reaction to alcohol.
Dr. Saunders told the inquest that Alyssa was in extremely poor health prior to her medical situation in the cells due to her alcoholism, and that alcohol withdrawal was a probable contributing factor to her condition that night.
He said that she was essentially poisoning herself by forgoing food for alcohol due to her long term alcoholism.
He noted that even if Alyssa had not gone into medical distress that night, her long term life expectancy would have been very short.
Alyssa George was only 25 when she went into medical distress early in the morning of September 4 after she was arrested by Terrace RCMP.
She was later flown to Vancouver where she died on September 10.