Man who has been a fixture at Toronto concerts dies after not receiving care at local hospital
Toronto's metal community is mourning the loss of beloved music fan Walter Froebrich, claiming his death was preventable and accusing a local hospital of negligence.
Froebrich allegedly visited St. Joseph's Health Centre three times in 10 days prior to his death, complaining of severe abdominal pain.
Longtime friend of Froebrich, John Romanelli, told Global News that Froebrich had lost considerable weight and complained about serious pain in his abdomen in the weeks prior to his death.
45-year-old Froebrich went to the emergency room, and according to his friends, hospital staff sent him home with antibiotics. When the pain didn't subside, Froebrich was back at the hospital for a second time and was given antibiotics once again.
After going to the same hospital for the third and final time, Froebrich was found dead inside his apartment by his friends.
Walter Froebrich, died of his injuries, after visiting the ER 3 times in 10 days, only to be turned away each time & sent home with antibiotics.— Birgit Uwaila Umaigba 🇳🇬 (@birgitomo) December 5, 2022
This story reminds me of my recent experience in Ontario's health system. I could have died if I didn't advocate for myself. Too sad💔
"We're devasted, he fell through the cracks," Romanelli told Global News. "He couldn't advocate for himself, and the poor guy was sent home to die."
Froebrich's friends claim he was a man of few words, and instead of fighting with hospital staff, he went home.
Froebrich's friend says their friend was suffering from an internal abdominal tear or rupture. They said St. Joseph's Health Centre needed to do more, but they kept turning away their friend because he was poor and couldn't fight to stay.— Ahmar Khan (@AhmarSKhan) December 4, 2022
"He was in unbelievable, unbearable pain and they just sent him home," Romanelli told Global News. "I think that's one of the reasons he fell through the cracks, because he couldn't advocate for himself."
On Dec. 3, a rally formed outside St. Joseph's hospital, with friends of Froebrich and members of the metal community holding signs that read "Justice for Walter."
I'd see Walter at every metal gig in #Toronto + in plenty friends' pics at ones I didn't go to. Didn't know him beyond hello/how are. Still, was saddened to hear of his passing. Didn't know why just he was 45. Saw this today. R.I.P. Walter Froebrich#JusticeForWalter pic.twitter.com/inAlzPqUbz— N. P. Ryan @firstname.lastname@example.org (@_npryan) December 2, 2022
"In Toronto, Walter was the mayor of metal. There's nobody as well known as Walter [in the community]," friend Chris Larocque told Global News.
If you've regularly attended rock, metal and punk shows and clubs in and around Toronto over the last couple decades, you've likely seen Walter Froebrich. Friends are now asking questions and making accusations of negligence in relation to his death last Saturday. https://t.co/7h6RT2GnbO— Mark Carcasole (@MarkCarcGlobal) December 4, 2022
"He was just a huge fan of music and everythig to do with it and everybody that liked it. The metal community is a community where we all love each other and take care of each other," high-school friend Phillip Villeneff said to Global news. "It's a devastating blow."
A longtime fixture in the punk and metal scene, the healthcare system failed Walter Froebrich, who died a preventable death. When a prolific supporter of local music leaves us, it's a loss for everybody.— Lonely Vagabond (@LonelyVagabond) December 4, 2022
A GoFundMe page has been started to fund Froebrich's funeral and memorial expenses, having gathered over $11,000 at the time of writing.
Froebrich's friends have also organized a benefit show in his honour at the Rockpile on Jan. 6.
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