Family of B.C. man who killed himself after visits to Regina hospital hopes for answers at inquest

The uncle of a man who killed himself hours after being removed from a Regina hospital by security guards says he hopes family members will finally get the answers they’ve been looking for.

The inquest into the death of Samwel Uko, who died just over two years ago, has begun with six people selected to sit on the jury.

Read more: Family optimistic for recommendations with Samwel Uko inquest set to begin

Jurors are to hear evidence related to Uko’s death before making recommendations to the Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service on how similar deaths can be prevented.

The inquest is meant to establish facts, not find fault, and is not a civil or criminal proceeding.

Uko, who was 20, was a football player originally from Abbotsford, B.C.

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He was found dead in a lake on the Saskatchewan legislature grounds in May 2020 after seeking mental help from the Regina General Hospital, which he visited twice earlier that day.

Read more: Saskatchewan Health Authority issues apology to Samwel Uko’s family, admits failure

His uncle Justin Nyee believes Uko was turned away because he was Black.

“I don’t really always want to talk about race, but his race played a role in how he was treated,” Nyee, who is from Calgary, said outside the inquest.

“They did not see him like one of them. That’s why they kicked him out.”

Nyee said hospital staff did not feel compassion for his nephew.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority apologized to the family and admitted Uko was not provided the care he needed in the hours before his death.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

Learn more about how to help someone in crisis on the government of Canada’s website.

Click to play video: 'Inquest into the death of Samwel Uko set to begin' Inquest into the death of Samwel Uko set to begin

Inquest into the death of Samwel Uko set to begin

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