‘The workload is troublesome’: Jail nurse offers insight on working inside Windsor jail

WARNING: Some details in this story might be upsetting to readers

A registered nurse who works inside the South West Detention Center (SWDC) testified Friday in the ongoing inquest into the death of an inmate.

Delilah Blair, 30, died by suicide on May 21, 2017 inside her cell. Blair was awaiting sentencing for armed robbery.

Matt Sulatycki, a jail nurse, was one of the members of the medical team to respond to the call for help from two corrections officers.

Sulatycki told the jury he asked the officers to move Blair’s body off the cell bunk and onto the floor so it would be easier for the team to perform CPR.

I have testified using the bunk wasn’t a mistake, but having her on the floor made it easier for more people to help her.

However, Sulatycki testified Blair did not have a pulse, her pupils were dilated, her skin was ashen, and by the time they performed CPR, she didn’t have any vital signs.

The jury has heard a lot of evidence about how long it took for an automated external defibrillator (AED) to be brought to the scene. Surveillance video shows a paramedic was the first person to bring an AED to Blair’s cell from her.

A Corrections Officer inside the Southwest Detention Center checks on the well-being of Delilah Blair on May 21, 2017. The image is a still frame of surveillance footage shown to a jury during the inquest into Blair’s death. (Courtesy: Coroner’s Office)Sulatycki told the jury he asked a corrections officer to go get a unit but he doesn’t know why that was never carried out.

I have testified he has repeatedly asked jail management to include an AED in their emergency response kit but has yet to get a “satisfactory” reason why it hasn’t happened.

Lawyers for the Ministry of the Solicitor General noted during the inquest there are 11 AED’s inside SWDC and their concern is the heavy unit could delay response time during an emergency.

Sulatycki also noted it could be a matter of cost as there are five emergency medical response kits scattered around the jail.

Sulatycki told the jury his one and only interaction with Blair while incarcerated was on the day of her death. He further noted he was not aware that Blair was Indigenous.

Much of Sulatycki’s evidence then dealt with what it’s like to be a jail nurse.

“The workload is troublesome,” I testified. “It’s not so much an issue of hiring, it’s an issue of retention.”

Sulatycki said studies have shown just one out of every seven jail nurses will continue in the field for one year after they are hired.

He believes being a jail nurse is unlike any other healthcare setting, and he describes it as difficult and “not for everyone.”

Sulatycki says they are routinely threatened and insulted by inmates.

In terms of staffing, Sulatycki said the jail should have 21 medical nurses and six mental health nurses. Yet, the jail has never been fully staffed, he said.

On Friday, Sulatycki said there are 19 medical nurses and four mental health nurses.

Lawyers also pointed out 70 per cent of the inmates in any jail will require medications.

The quest continues Monday.

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