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Third Call for Public Inquiry

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March 12, 2010

HAND DELIVERED

The Honourable Premier, Mr. Ed Stelmach,
Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB.T5K 2B6

The Honourable Ms. Alison Redford, QC
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
403 Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB.T5K 2B6

The Honourable Ms. M. Jablonski,
Minister of Seniors and Community Supports
#227 Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB.T5K 2B6

REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC INQUIRY TO ADDRESS THE MATTER OF COMPETENCY ASSESSMENTS, WRONGFUL DETENTION AND THE GENERAL ABUSE OF SENIORS.

A physician, has a powerful quasi-judicial position in society by virtue of the reliance on his assessments by the judicial system, in that his assessment can lead to the detaining of lawful citizens behind locked doors, and removal of total property and human rights.

The current standards required for a physician in the performance of his assessment are not well defined. We believe that if the judiciary is to rely on a physician’s assessment, specific standards and criteria must be developed for the exercise and documentation of a physician’s assessment. These should include cross examination of the physician or documentation/ affidavit testimony which outlines the process which was followed as well as practical avenues for the appeal and review of that assessment.

Seniors are being detained in active treatment beds. Many are given little or no nursing care, no recreation, are never allowed out of doors and are not allowed to leave the ward even for a cup of coffee with a friend. No one speaks to them, they are given little or no mental stimulation but spend their days in a poorly lit, somewhat less than pleasant room. We have knowledge that often the rooms are cold and the beds are ill fitting and uncomfortable. We have learned that it is ‘policy’ to keep these seniors clothed in pyjamas, closely guarded, by security guards/ or staff posted at the door.

Seniors are not being served with the documents which are keeping them detained, in breach of legislation. Family members, even lawyers have been denied access to documents. We have a document from a Capitol Health employee which informed a lawyer that documents would not be released. Professional doctors, nurses, social workers all cooperate in this unjust process.

Criminals at the Remand center must be given full disclosure as to why they are being detained.

One senior who had been detained for a month, finally was released after we retained a lawyer for him. The lawyer told ward staff that they had no right to hold him. They didn’t. But if a lawyer had not intervened, he might still be detained. The gentleman was able to return to his warm comfortable home and bed.

These citizens paid their taxes, they have had no conflict with the law. They are taking up active treatment beds, paid for by tax dollars, that should be available for sick Albertans. Seniors / Canadian citizens are also being detained / imprisoned in locked units, Alberta Hospital Edmonton.

A senior citizen who was detained in a locked unit for three years, 2006, was moved into the unlocked area summer 2009. According to his affidavit, that man had been assessed twelve times in sixteen months by the following, physicians/ psychiatrists/ psychologists who signed either a Form 1, a certificate, a Personal Directive Form 2 or letter after having allegedly assessed this man.

  • Dr. Doug Duke - February 2006
  • Dr. N. Dean – February 2006
  • Unknown examination – in Royal Alex emergency – probably by Dr. Kanna Alagiakrishnan – September 8, 2006
  • Dr. Nagy Amin Girgis Youssef – Psychiatrist - September 9th, 2007 (certificate)
  • Dr. Jennifer Stickney- Lee – Assistant professor of Family Medicine, Division of Care of the elderly – September 9h, 2006 (certificate)
  • Dr. Kanna Alagiakrishnan - Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine September 20, 2006 (told this Canadian citizen he had “no rights”)
  • Dr. Namita Rao MD, CCFP, Dip. COE. Faculty & Staff · Home. Assistant Clinical Professor Care of the Elderly Program Department of Family MedicineSeptember 20, 2006
  • Dr. Katherine Lechelt – Division Director and Associate Professor of Medicine, Divison of Geriatric Medicine examined him
  • Dr. Godwin Okolo – Physician – General practitioner
  • Dr. Chris Gregson General Practitioner February 6, 2007
  • Dr. Arlin Pachet, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist and team leader, Regional Capacity Assessment Team, Calgary Health Region, flew in from Calgary (3 hours – $5,000.00)
  • Dr Darryl B. Rolfson, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Consultant Geriatrician

June 30, 2007 who declared that this man was unable to instruct a lawyer which in effect made the senior to be a non-person. (Saturday am – long weekend when the assisted living facility is virtually deserted /no management staff on site)

Another senior who had been assessed and stripped of all rights and money by Dr. N. Flook and social Worker Elizabeth Gottschalk, at the Misericordia Hospital, was detained for eight months in a locked dementia unit, maximum security, never allowed to leave the locked unit. After an outcry from the senior’s community, she was reassessed and found to have been wrongly assessed and wrongly placed. However she was not moved from the unit for an entire year until we intervened by means of a complaint.

It is clear that seniors are being abused through a process that declares them incompetent and strips them of their rights and finances and ability to retain a lawyer. Sometimes they are being detained and are not incompetent nor have they been declared incompetent.

One Canadian citizen was detained in an active treatment hospital for one full year. Being computer savvy, he himself, managed to extricate himself from detention.

Another man was detained in the dayroom of an active treatment hospital for one full year. It took $10,000 dollars of lawyer fees to free him. We document these matters.

Some of these detainees were living independently, paying their utilities, taxes until they entered hospital for care and then were not allowed to again leave. In one instance, huge, burly security guards were called when a small senior with son approached the nursing desk to request documents.  They left empty handed.

We are again asking our government to hold a Public Inquiry to

  1. direct hearings to be held across the province to review the plight of persons who have been victimized by unjust, dishonest, unethical assessments. The hearings should include those Alberta citizens who are detained behind locked doors and who wish to be heard
  2. establish legislated criteria and standards to govern the assessment protocol, that recognizes constitutional rights and Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  3. establish practical avenues of accessible, appeal protocol.
  4. establish a protocol to punish those who have wrongly detained and abused senior Albertans.
  5. a definitive time line in regard to these undertakings.

Thank you. Respectfully submitted.

We would be grateful to be in receipt of your response in regard to this matter by the 1st. April, 2010. Thank you.

Yours truly.

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

Response

Redford1

HAND DELIVERED

April 26, 2010

The Honourable Ms. Alison Redford, QC
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
403 Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

Dear Madam:

REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC INQUIRY TO ADDRESS THE MATTER OF COMPETENCY ASSESSMENTS, WRONGFUL DETENTION AND THE GENERAL ABUSE OF SENIORS.

We acknowledge your response of April 12, 2010. We find it unsatisfactory and even irresponsible. Governments exist to protect their citizens not to prey on them and strip them of their rights and money.

As in the matter of Inga Dorcea Sondrup. The Public Trustee, Ernest Kambeitz, on behalf of the government, was at the frail senior’s door with court documents, file

No # 10381, intending to seize her estate. She denied him entrance and called us.

Ms. Sondrup had allegedly been assessed by Dr. Sandra Kae White, the same doctor of psychology who denied Flora L’Heureux her human rights. With the aid of

Dr. Raj Pannu MLA and a lawyer, the matter was dismissed. We have a litany of such horror stories.

It is curious, that in our world, it appears to be the same group of persons who are responsible for the flawed / alleged assessments. However, no one is held accountable for the human carnage that these professionals cause.

We submit that the process of assessing competency is a pseudo science and could be perceived as an industry, a lucrative, non-regulated industry, an industry that demands investigation.

Thank you. Respectfully submitted,

Yours truly.

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

cc. Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Health and Wellness.

Previous Call for Inquiry

Hand Delivered

October 5, 2009

The Honourable Ms. Alison Redford, QC

Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Room # 403, Legislature Building

10800 – 97 Avenue,

Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

Dear Madam Minister:

REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC INQUIRY TO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING:

A physician, has a powerful quasi-judicial position in society by virtue of the reliance, by the judicial system and al, on his assessments. In that his assessment can lead to the detaining of lawful citizens behind locked doors and removal of property and human rights.

The current standards required for a physician in the performance of his assessment are not well defined. We believe that if the judiciary and all society is to rely on a physician’s assessment, specific standards and criteria must be developed for the exercise and documentation of a physician’s assessment. These should include cross examination of the physician or documentation/ affidavit testimony which outlines the process which was followed.

Much to our dismay, we have very recently learned that this power, to declare seniors incompetent and strip them of all monies ands rights, has now been extended to others such as nurses, RN’s, RPN’s, & OT’s .

Assessing physicians and others, should require observations over an extended period of time, to come to a conclusion. Far too frequently they rely on third party input for expediency. Far too often, third party persons have a vested interest in the outcome.

Seniors who at one time may have suffered illness but have recovered, are being abused through a process that declares them incompetent to look after their finances and personal decisions. From this process there is no return.

Therefore we are again asking your government to hold a Public Inquiry to:

  1. allow hearings across the province of persons who have been victimized by a process that has no safe, definitive guidelines to ensure a fair, ethical assessment. The hearings should include those Alberta citizens who are presently detained behind locked doors who wish to be heard
  2. legislate that all assessments must be transcribed and the transcribed assessment be made available to the assessed senior as soon as available.
  3. establish legislated criteria and standards to govern the assessment protocol, that recognizes constitutional rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Each assessment should cite a date for review of the assessment.
  4. establish practical avenues of accessible, appeal protocol.
  5. establish meaningful penalties for those who are in breach of legislation.
  6. a definitive time line in regard to these undertakings.

Under the Government Organization Act Chapter G-10, the Minister “shall ensure that Public Affairs are administered according to law.”

In most areas relating to seniors, there is no protective legislation. Seniors can be harmed with impunity.

Respectfully submitted, we shall be awaiting your reply. We would be grateful to be in receipt of such reply by the 25th of October, 2009.

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

cc:

Honourable Mr. Dave Hancock, Government House leader

Honourable Mary Anne Jablonski, Minister for Seniors and Community Support Services

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