Family and friends of a young shelter worker in Nanaimo are speaking out about her death from an undiagnosed serious infection.

They told Global News they believe she could have been saved if she had access to a family doctor.

Sophia was only 23 years old when she died on Nov. 27 after repeatedly being misdiagnosed by doctors.

“She was full of life, super funny, had a great sense of humour,” Sophia’s mom, Melonie, told Global News.

We are only identifying Melonie and Sophia by their first names due to privacy concerns.

“She was destined to big things in this world and it’s just horrible that this is what it has come to,” Melonie added.

“It was 100-per cent preventable.”

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Sophia died at only age 23 after contracting an infection.

Provided by the family

Sophia had been working at the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter where in March 2023, it is suspected she contracted an infection.

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“All she needed was a doctor and a doctor to do blood tests and analyze those tests and she would’ve gotten the help that she needed,” Paul Manly, the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter executive director, told Global News.

Sophia had been on the B.C. government’s Health Connect Registry for three years but did not get a family doctor.

Friends said she tried to access Nanaimo’s only walk-in clinic repeatedly but never made it past the front doors.

By June, Sophia had not improved so she was forced to take a medical leave from the shelter.

Click to play video: 'B.C. leads country in walk-in clinic wait times'

B.C. leads country in walk-in clinic wait times

Her mother said she had already been to the Nanaimo hospital emergency room once but it was the second trip in mid-November when Sophia was admitted.

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She underwent some blood tests but it showed it was too late.

“Her body was already going into sepsis,” Melonie said.

“So, they airlifted her to St. Paul’s on a Friday afternoon, and by Sunday afternoon, she passed.”

On Monday, B.C. Premier David Eby called Sophia’s story “horrific” with Health Minister Adrian Dix saying there are going to be questions about what happened.

Melonie has now made formal complaints with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Island Health, which confirmed it is reviewing Sophia’s care journey.

However, Melonie is left wondering if her daughter had a family doctor, would it have made any difference?

“It would not have been this way,” she said.

“She would still be here today.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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