Top Stories 2014

January 28, 2014

The Ottawa Citizen, Christie Blatchford (Postmedia News)

Politicians fiddle with laws as buildings burn

The way Québec politicians and others are carrying on, you’d think that the automatic sprinkler system was an untried, still slightly sketchy, cutting-edge technology and not one proven up the yingyang in the 142 years it was invented. “It’s not a simple problem,” Québec Health Minister Réjean Hébert told reporters Monday at L’Isle-Verte. “If it would have been simple, it would have been done.” If the answer was simple? It couldn’t be more simple: Order all care occupancies housing those incapable of self-preservation – vulnerable by dint of age or physical or mental disability – to be retrofitted with sprinklers.


February 11, 2014

Fired make-out artist wins job back at St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term care facility

A provincial arbitrator has ruled that one of four St. Joseph’s at Fleming employees, fired in May 2013 after a hidden camera captured footage of abusive treatment at the facility, should be allowed to return to work. The news shocked Camille Parent. His hidden camera captured the man canoodling with a female co-worker while his mother lay in bed beside them. All four employees were fired when footage of the video was released to the media. The resulting attention led to a restructuring of St. Joseph’s at Fleming’s board of directors, the temporary suspension of admissions at the home and a criminal investigation. All four workers have since appealed their dismissals. On Thursday, an arbitrator ruled that the canoodling male employee should be able to return to work. Paul O’Krafka, chief executive officer for St. Joseph’s at Fleming, released a statement reiterating that the organization has zero tolerance for elder abuse, but must abide by the ruling. “We respect the decision of the arbitrator and must work within the process,” O’Krafka stated. That’s not good enough for Camille Parent, who’s heard all this before. Parent said he offered to write a victim impact statement for hospital administrators during the arbitration process. He thought it would help if officials understood how the worker’s actions have hurt his family. But no one took him up on that offer, he said. That the employee is allowed to return to work shows St. Joseph’s, and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, won’t back up their zero-tolerance commitment, he said.


February 27, 2014

CBC News

Family members banned from care facilities threaten legal action

People who say they are being prevented from visiting family members at long-term care facilities in Alberta, but not told why, are asking the government to step in. “I was threatened by the physician,” said Huguette Hebert. She claims she was banned for a day from seeing her husband staying at a Covenant Health facility in Edmonton after she asked to stay in the room while he was changed. Hebert said she wanted to check for bedsores. Hebert is one of many Albertans who’ve had problems seeing their loved ones at continuing care facilities says lobby group Public Interest Alberta. Shauna McHarg hasn’t seen her father in his care facility for two years – and has severely restricted visiting hours with her mother. “They give no reason,” she said. “My parents are aging. This started in 2010. It need to end immediately.” McHarg appealed to the Ombudsman and privacy commissioner, but Covenant Health refuses to release the reason why she was banned, even fighting the matter in court last week. People banned from facilities should have more options, said the PIA lawyer Allan Garber. “These decisions are being made without the due process of law,” he said. “And that is a fundamental problem. Especially when we know the people on the other side are frail, elderly people.”


July 16, 2014              

The Ottawa Sun, Jonathan Sher, QMI Agency

Promised reviews of all Ontario nursing homes has fallen well short

This article was first posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013 , and published in the printed edition of the Ottawa Sun on the same date. The complete article is still available online. LONDON, ONT. – Frightened by recent abuse exposed at a Peterborough nursing home, you want to know who’s protecting your loved ones in homes across Ontario. But if you’re hoping for an inspector to keep those nursing homes in line, you’re likely out of luck. Three years after Ontario’s Health Ministry promised annual inspections,only 123 of the province’s 600-plus homes have been put to the test with a full review, according to data reviewed by QMI Agency. “Nobody’s really watching,” said Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. In London, provincial inspectors have conducted thorough reviews of only five of 14 homes — 68% of residents live in homes not inspected, more than 1,500 people in total.


September 4, 2014

The Toronto Star, Eric Andrew-Gee, Staff Reporter

Sunnybrook hospital broke law by enforcing do-not-resuscitate order, says watchdog

Health Professions Appeal and Review Board rules the College of Physicians should reopen a case against doctors who refused to continue treating an 88-year-old vet against the family’s wishes.

Doctors at one of Toronto’s biggest hospitals violated provincial law when they imposed a do-not-resuscitate order on a dying man without consulting his daughter, Ontario’s medical watchdog has ruled.  It’s a case that could have major legal implications for families and physicians clashing over the kind of treatment to give terminally ill patients, a debate that has roiled the Canadian medical community and legal system in recent years.