When Allison Holthoff was rushed to the hospital around 11 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, little did she know she wouldn’t make it out alive. Around 11:30 p.m., before the beginning of 2023, the Canadian mother of three was pronounced dead, according to the New York Post, among others.
It all started on the morning of New Year’s Eve. According to Gunther Holthoff, the husband, Allison had woken up with an upset stomach. She has been suffering from various ailments since September, when the 37-year-old fell off her horse, according to Canadian broadcaster CTV News.
Her condition worsened during the morning. After a bath, she complained of pain so bad that she writhed on the floor. Her husband then drove Allison to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Center in Amherst. When the couple got there around 11am, Gunther had to carry her to the clinic because she couldn’t walk.
He then wheeled Allison to the emergency room and described his wife’s excruciating pain. “I told the nurse and the lady behind the desk it was getting worse,” he says. Even taking blood and urine samples became an ordeal because of the pain.
Still, Allison had to sit in the waiting room. There she suddenly felt so bad that she crouched on the floor in a fetal position and was covered by the security forces of the clinic. Suddenly Allison was even talking about dying. “She said, ‘I think I’m dying. Don’t let me die here’”, reports Gunther Holthoff.
At 3 p.m., four hours after arrival, Allison was ushered into an exam room where more blood samples were taken. As the woman’s eyes began to roll back, a nurse simply asked if the woman was on drugs, to which Gunther said no.
It wasn’t until 6 p.m., when Allison began screaming in pain, that a nurse noticed an increased heart rate and low blood pressure. “After that everything happened quickly, everyone started to get faster,” says the husband. “It was the first time I really felt that someone was paying attention to us.”
After infusions, administration of painkillers and an EKG, Allison was also X-rayed. When she came back, she screamed that she could hardly breathe. She then went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated three times. Then the doctors made a momentous decision.
Because bleeding in the body, which a CT scan showed, could not be localized, the doctors decided against a necessary operation. The reason: Allison’s chance of survival would have been only one percent. “At that point there was little chance that she would ever lead a normal or dignified life,” says Gunther Holthoff.
After he and the three children said goodbye to Allison, she was pronounced dead around 11:30 p.m. She hadn’t been taken seriously in the hospital for more than seven hours – by the time she was, it was too late.
Gunther Holthoff is now demanding clarification. “Unfortunately, I feel like they were neglected and it got to a point where they couldn’t ignore us anymore,” he says. The woman’s family and several politicians in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia have called on the provincial government to clarify the case. The Ministry of Health is now dealing with the case.
“We need change, the system is obviously broken. Or if it’s not broken yet, it’s not far off,” says Gunther Holthoff. “Something needs to be improved. I don’t want anyone else to go through this.”