OPP name Albert Poidinger, 89, as victim in Hawkesbury, Ont., hospital investigation

·3 min read
OPP name Albert Poidinger, 89, as victim in Hawkesbury, Ont., hospital investigation
The front entrance of the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital on Friday. It's located about 90 kilometres from both Ottawa and Montreal.  (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The front entrance of the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital on Friday. It's located about 90 kilometres from both Ottawa and Montreal. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Ontario Provincial Police have identified an 89-year-old man from the Montreal area as the person Dr. Brian Nadler, a physician at the hospital in Hawkesbury, Ont., is accused of killing.

Nadler, 35, was charged with one count of first-degree murder and appeared in court remotely on Friday, one day after the OPP were called to the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, where he works.

Nadler's Ottawa-based lawyer, Alan Brass, told CBC News his client maintains his innocence.

Albert Poidinger, who was pronounced dead at the hospital on Thursday, was from Pointe-Claire, Que., in the Montreal area, near Nadler's home of Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

In an interview on Monday, OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson wouldn't confirm whether Poidinger was one of Nadler's patients.

We are grateful to the members of the community for their patience during this difficult time. - Daniel Gatien, chair, Hawksbury and District General Hospital board of directors

Dickson said police were waiting for the results of post-mortem investigations into several other people who died at the hospital recently. He said police don't know whether foul play was a factor and can't speculate.

"There were grounds there for investigators to think we need to look deeper," Dickson said. "And take another look at cause of deaths just to make sure."

Dickson said police will not release the names of the deceased if it's found that they died of natural causes. He said the OPP continues to interview members of the Hawkesbury community.

On Saturday, Dickson called the hospital case a "one-off" and said the public shouldn't be worried. He also called the incident a "traumatic experience" for Hawkesbury.

Family taking time to 'grieve and understand'

While the family declined to be interviewed, a relative of Poidinger told CBC "we appreciate any condolences and also express our condolences to other families that may have been affected."

The relative went on to say the family is taking time to "grieve and understand what has happened to our loved husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and brother."

Liem Morrell, a staff member at the retirement home where Poidinger lived, said he remembers him as "just a super nice guy. Always very pleasant."

Morrell said he spoke to Poidinger and his wife "very often" and that "they were both German, so I actually learned how to greet them in German."

Hospital responds to community fears

"We offer our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families and our support to the patients and families impacted by this investigation," Daniel Gatien, chair of the hospital's board of directors, wrote in a statement on Monday afternoon.

"We are grateful to the members of the community for their patience during this difficult time."

The hospital said it is continuing to assist the OPP in the investigation and it met with the affected families to offer condolences and support.

WATCH | Police await post-mortem results in Hawkesbury, Ont., hospital investigation:

"We understand that our patients, their families and the community at large are anxious and distressed," the statement said. All hospital services, including imaging and the birthing centre, remain open, it added.

Ontario's chief coroner, Dirk Huyer, told CBC his office is called in when there are questions as to whether a death is natural or not.

He said it is unusual for his office to investigate a number of suspicious deaths at a hospital.

"We investigate cases and if we identify particular issues that may be of a public safety concern, then we might make recommendations to help to improve or bring awareness to potential improvements to systemic issues," he said.

Nadler graduated from Montreal's McGill University in 2010, before attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton to study surgery and internal medicine until 2014.

According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, Nadler was a resident and intern in the province from July 2014 to September 2018. Then he spent time as a geriatric fellow in Reno, Nev.

Nadler has been licensed in Ontario since Feb. 4, 2020. His next court appearance is set for April 6.