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Gloria Pickles: Human Rights Complaint at Villa Caritas

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Letter – Neglect, Medical malpractice

HAND DELIVERED

May 4, 2012

College of Physicians and Surgeons
2700 Telus Plaza South
10020 100th Street
Edmonton, AB. T5J 0N3

Attention Manager of complaints

Reference: Dr. Michael B. Buchinski Covenant Health Villa Caritas, Edmonton, AB. – Dr. Buchinski is Gloria Pickle’s long time physician. His office is on the main floor of Villa Caaritas.

Failed to provide medical care to Gloria Joyce Pickles -detained Rm. # 2117, Covenant Health Villa Caritas Unit 2 A.

On February 14, 2012 @ noon, we visited Ms. Pickles and noted that she appeared gravely ill, malaised, listless, could hardly walk. She showed us her legs. Her entire right leg appeared bright pink. Her left leg was a shocking deep, scarlet red, from below the knee to the lower area around her ankle. We observed that the left leg appeared acutely edematous, hot and tender. Ms. Pickles reported tenderness and pain in the upper, inner area of her left knee. She told us that during the night she had found herself drenched with perspiration.

Although, her ongoing medical condition, cellulitis was known to all medical staff on Unit 2A and certainly they should have noted her grave physical condition, however no nurses or physicians inquired as to her well being or asked to examine the affected areas of her legs.

She later informed us that she had received no medical care, no medical intervention until the early morning hours of February 15, 2012, Gloria Pickles was denied necessary health care.

History

By Order of Dr. Kevin Lawless and Gail Tricker, Ms. Pickles had been allowed a one hour visit a week. A guard is stationed outside our door while we visit. Promptly, to the minute, when the hour is up, the charge nurse appears from out of the ward, knocks on the door and tells us our hour is up. They all wait until we leave. Often another security guard is also on hand. We receive a lot of attention.

On the morning of February 14, 2012 @ 11:00 AM we attended at Villa Caritas to visit Ms. Pickles. When nurse Cindy RN and Aide Cora, brought her out of the unit, Ms. Pickles looked awful, totally listless, could hardly walk, appeared gravely ill.

Ms. Pickles phones me every evening at 9:00 PM. She kept telling me that she was feeling ill, that her legs were swollen, very painful and she believed they were again infected due to cellulitis. She also told me that she was continually coughing and could hardly breathe when she was in a supine position. Therefore she frequently slept in a chair. No one offered her cough medication.

She told me that on the evening of the 13th, she was feeling so weak and ill and had fallen asleep and missed supper. An aide, Louis, said that there was an orange which she could have at 8:00 pm, snack time but at 8:00 PM the orange was gone. Despite her ill condition, she was offered no food, no fluids, no health care. No one assessed her condition.

During the morning visit on the 14th, we observed her legs. As noted earlier, her entire right leg appeared bright pink. Her entire left leg was a shocking deep, scarlet red, from below the knee to the lower area around her ankle. What we saw is indescribable. The left leg appeared edematous, hot and tender. She reported tenderness and pain in the upper, inner area of her left knee. She told us that during the night she had found herself drenched with perspiration.

We took photographs of her legs, Dr. Kevin Lawless, psychiatrist, went past the door and looked in the window, he would have seen the camera flash. As we were leaving Gloria, 12:00 o’clock sharp, one of our people who was shocked and upset by the gravely ill condition of Gloria and the bright red leg, spoke passionately to RN Cindy.

I overheard her as I was calling the elevator:

“You are not treating her, you are denying her health care, it is criminal”.

The nurse responded sharply and dismissively,

“WE ARE AWARE”.

Gloria was then again returned to detention behind locked doors.

Within minutes of Ms. Pickles being returned to her room, Dr. Michael Buchinski came to see her, inquiring about her legs. Shortly after Dr. Richards also appeared. There was mention of cameras and Elder Advocate’s website.

Dr. Buchinski suggested to Ms. Pickles that she be administered pills or go ‘upstairs’ to 3B where staff would attempt to start IV’s. Gloria told us that she strongly objected to both. She reported to us that she told him that oral medication was not adequate and appropriate and staff at the Villa Caritas was not qualified to administer intravenous therapy (she has been painfully subjected to their inept performance in the past).

That same day, February 14, 2012, Dr. Buchinski faxed a visitation Directive to our office (attached). We find it curious, that at that time, he would spend time issuing another, more restrictive, Directive.

Below is a brief review of Ms. Pickles appeal for medical care / help.

My daily notes indicate the following:

  • Dr. Michael Buchinski attends at the ward nursing station almost every day, even on weekends.
  • Dr. David Richards frequently attends at the ward nursing station.
  • Nurses on unit 2 A:
  • Levi LPN (Charge Nurse) Sabrina Guzman RPN;
  • Cindy RN; Jackie Borbady RN; Ridwan Musa RPN; Nadine RN;
  • Ridwan Musa almost always works 16 hour shifts on Unit 2 A.

On January 29, 2012, Ms. Pickles informed me that the swelling on her legs now extended above her knees and that her legs were bright pink.

February 8, 2012 She told me that Dr. Richards saw her, asked her about her persistent cough, did not auscultate her lungs or prescribe medication nor did he inquire or ask to examine her legs.

On February 9, 2012 Ms. Pickles told us that she had AGAIN informed Cindy RN, charge nurse, about her legs in a.m. – she told us that she reported to her that they were swollen and painful due to cellulitis. This professional nurse did not ask to examine her legs nor did anyone else come to monitor her legs.

Cellulitis is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection of the skin. Untreated, cellulitis can be fatal.

On February 10, 2012 – Ms. Pickles reported that no one had come to see her.

On February 11, 2012 Ms. Pickles told us that she inquired of Jackie RN whether everything (her complaints) are charted / recorded in her health care file. Jackie informed her that indeed everything was entered. So one must wonder, that if in this health care facility, regular entries regarding the painful, swollen, pink legs, were entered / charted, why was this information being disregarded?

On February 13, 2012 – Nadine RN, Ridwan Musa RPN, were on ward, afternoon shift– Ms. Pickles told me she had no supper, no snack or fluids
because she had fallen asleep during the supper hour.
She also told me that she again made an attempt to bring attention to her ill condition, she said she again groveled to staff however no one responded.

February 14, 2012, our visit 11:00 – 12:00 AM

February 14, 2012, @ 6:30PM, Gloria Pickles was taken by taxi to the Misericordia Hospital in order to receive intensive, intravenous antibiotic therapy.

The evening of February 14, 2012, evening staff, Ridwan Musa RPN, failed to send the necessary Form 6 to the Misericordia Hospital until late at night. Therefore the IV therapy treatment of Gloria Pickles did not begin until the early hours of the 15th, 2012.

February 16, 2012 T/C to Ms. Pickles @ 9:00 AM from Mental Health Patient
Advocate Office – (Bev. Sloshki .(sp.) – inquiring if she could somehow be of help to Gloria. (we had faxed a letter to their Office on February 14/12 concerning the scarlet and pink legs – attached).

Although Ms. Pickles lives in a health care facility staffed by doctors and nurses, no one attended to her. According to Ms. Pickles, the infection moved up her legs to her buttocks and up her back. She has told us that *Misericordia physicians monitored her situation every 48 hours. *

They also carried out ultrasound imaging procedures to monitor for potential blood clots.

Is it possible, if we had not attended at Villa Caritas on the 14th, spoken to the nurse and taken photographs, that the professional health care staff of Unit 2 A, would have allowed gravely ill Gloria Pickles to return to her room and quietly slip into total sepsis?

At Villa Caritas, Gloria Pickles is detained behind locked doors. She is being denied all rights. Gloria Pickles is totally powerless to obtain health care or medical treatment.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

Per:

Gloria Joyce Pickles

Attachments:
Directive – Dr. Kevin Lawless dated May 5, 2011
Directive – Dr. M. Buchinski Directive dated February 14, 2012
Correspondence to Dr. Richard Au & Fay Orr, Mental Health Patient Advocate

Human Rights Complaint

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

COMPLAINT UNDER THE ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

We, the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

COMPLAIN AGAINST

Dr. Asad Brahim MD, Dr. Michael Buchinski Psychiatrist, Dr. Constance Walker Psychiatrist, Dr. Richards MD, Leslie Pisani Social Worker, Patrick Hartnett RN and other staff of Villa Caritas and Alberta Hospital Edmonton Geriatric unit.

Gloria Pickles is being detained behind locked doors at Villa Caritas.

Alleging that since November 2009, until the present, these persons have totally and egregiously contravened the rights of Gloria Pickles.

We submit that Gloria Pickles is being mentally, physically abused and demeaned. She is being subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment.

Gloria Pickles is a Canadian Citizen and therefore has inherent rights. Nevertheless, those detaining her have sharply suspended and curtailed her civil and Charter rights.

Dated April 27, 2011 in Edmonton, AB

This Statement is true to the best of my knowledge. I hereby authorize the Alberta Human Rights Commission to investigate the above mentioned complaint and take whatever steps it considers necessary to effect settlement of the said complaint.

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

Full Complaint Document

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

COMPLAINT UNDER THE
ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

Particulars:

Gloria Pickles was suffering from cellulitis on her legs. Dr. Serena Crum MD, from the Lac la Biche Health Care Centre, sent Gloria Pickles by ambulance to Alberta Hospital Edmonton.

She has advised us that when she asked Dr. Crum to refer her to a specialist, after some time, Dr. Crum told her that she had a bed for her in Edmonton.

The evening before the 7:00 AM departure, Dr. Crum told her that she was being sent to Alberta Hospital and that it was for the further care of her cellulitis.

We submit that Gloria Pickles is being mentally, physically abused and demeaned at Viilla Caritas (previously at Alberta Hospital Edmonton), her Charter Rights are being violated.

Gloria Pickles has been held against her will and denied all rights since November 2009.

Gloria receives no therapy, no exercise, no recreation, no mental stimulation. She takes no therapeutic, psychotropic medication, only a baby aspirin, calcium, Vitamin D and a laxative.

Gloria Pickles is totally independent in regard to daily living activities, requires no care, no nursing care. She is not incompetent

Yesterday, (Easter Monday) this senior was asked to wash and wipe many chairs in the lower area. She, being a compliant, gentle person, did so. She has been also asked to do so in the past.

GlORIA PICKLES HAS BEEN DENIED THE RIGHT:

  1. to be recognized, respected and treated as an intelligent human being.When we first visited her on March 27, 2011 @ 3: 00 PM, we found her working on a Journal Suduko (There is little or nothing at Villa Caritas, 2nd floor for patients to pass the time) She is a bright, intelligent and fiercely independent lady who has total insight into her situation. She can give an accurate report of her medical and other history. She recalls phone numbers by memory. She does not appear to be the senior she is. Obviously the Villa Caritas staff do not perceive her as a frail elder or they would not ask her to wash the chairs.
  2. to go out of doors for fresh air since last June.
  3. to any privacy, decency and dignity.She is disallowed to close her bedroom door, day or night. She is granted no privacy. Occasionally a compassionate staff or patient has drawn the door shut, when she is getting dressed. But then some aggressive staff immediately opens the door.She has been subject to male staff leering, sitting on chairs across from her open room early in the morning.Apart from the indignity that she is being subjected to, she states that night staff are very noisy and keep her awake which causes her headaches.She has inquired of RN’s and others, why she is being subjected to this protocol. They respond, that it is because of what happened downstairs (1A). When she pursues the matter with them attempting to get an answer, they respond, that she knows what happened.This incident allegedly happened in 1A. however Dr. Walker states that she is on “close”, which is not disciplinary.

    On March 22/11 @ 7:00 AM, Meseria (sp.) (staff) came to Gloria’s room. Gloria made some objection to her protocol of distributing linen. Gloria claims that Meseria clawed Gloria on the arm, it drew blood. We saw gouge lesions when we came to visit her.

    1. When dressed, Gloria went to the nursing station to show staff what had been done to her.
    2. Later Dr. Walker came by and asked Gloria about the incident. Gloria maintains she never retaliated or touched Meseria. Dr. Walker responded that was not what she had heard. She alleged to Gloria that Meseria’ s arms were bruised.
    3. Two days later when Gloria confronted Meseria about what happened, Meseria insisted her chest was bruised and that she even had to go to the doctor because of the alleged injuries.

    We submit that if in fact that there had been such a cat fight and altercation resulting in injuries

    necessitating medical attention, it would have been heard. If Meseria’s chest had been injured, she would have most likely been down on the floor.

    Gloria was moved from 1A up to 2A on Friday, April 1, 2011, which in itself is a form of discipline.

    After she arrived, she was never allowed to close her door, day or night. This discipline is ordered and enforced by Psychiatrist, Dr. Constance Walker. Tomorrow, it will be four weeks

    (now almost 7 weeks) that this cruel and unusual punishment has been inflicted on this senior.

    It strongly appears, that by means of this humiliation and degradation, staff are trying to break her spirit.

    Gloria has stated to us that the linen wagon is not always kept clean and on occasion dirty diapers are casually placed on the wagon. She also has reported that staff put on disposable gloves and then move from room to room and from patient to patient, sometimes changing a patient’s diapers without changing gloves or washing hands. Then wearing the same gloves, they handle the clean linen. Gloria objects to this.

    She has also stated that she has observed, a patient J.J. who appears to suffer some memory issues, return under panties to the wagon, which were in her possession. Had she tried them on for size? Furthermore, J.J. has a sign on her door, stating “Contact precaution” – and instructs visitors to the room, are to wash with soap and water.

  4. to protect and safeguard her domicile from damage.In September, October and part of November of 2010, Gloria reported that she repatedly implored Dr. Buchinski to allow her to return to her Trailer in Hylo, AB. in order to ready the unit for winter. In the latter part of November, she said that she no longer asked to go, because she was aware the temperature had dropped to -15 and water pipes would be frozen, She understood that there would have been irreparable damage to her home. Because she was being detained behind locked doors, she could not help herself.
  5. to protect and administer her personal belongings and business.Similarly she was painfully aware that her licenses would lapse. Upon admission to Alberta Hospital, she was totally stripped not only of all rights, but her house keys, vehicle keys, bank books, bank card, driver’s license, AMA card, firearms license, etc. These were taken from her. She knew that these needed to be renewed but was disallowed to renew them. Now, much to her distress all these licenses have lapsed and become invalid.
  6. to not be publicly maligned and defamed.Staff speak untruths about her. i.e. On the morning of April 11, 2011, an RN, Charge nurse reported / published, that Gloria could not come to the lawyer’s office because she was violent, that she would attack the taxi driver. However on the same afternoon of April 11, 2011, when she was being driven back to Villa Caritas in a taxi, from the Edmonton Court House together with five Villa Caritas staff, she was told to sit in the front seat beside the driver.
  7. to safety of person.She has been physically abused. A number of times, this senior has been submitted to a “takedown”. (See our website elderadvocates.ca/takedown)Because she asked for a glass of cranberry juice, she was seized by three husky African American men, “given a needle” (sedation), had her supper tray taken from her, denied supper, strapped down for the entire night. Her new jeans were torn and ripped off of her. Her arms were bruised, black and blue. For some weeks, the bruises were most obvious to doctors and nursing staff. On one occasion she was strapped all night, to a chair in her room without her panties on.
  8. to advocacy by publicly paid advocatesShe complained of the assault to the Mental Health Patient Advocate’s Office. They did not come to her aid or defense.
  9. to her personal belongings necessary for health and well being.
    She has been denied her glasses, clothing, expensive support hose and other items that were allegedly damaged and taken from her room at the time October 18th, 2010 fire in the dayroom of Building 12 unit # 1, Alberta hospital. She should be wearing the support hose because of the cellulitis issue. She needs the glasses.
    She has been complaining for months to the Patient Advocate Office for the return of these items. To date the items have not been returned.
  10. to privacy and respect of personShe has sometimes refused to take a shower:
    • because when you are on ‘close’, nurses (male) come in to check on you whether you are undressed, on the toilet or showering.
    • Unless you roll mats down around the shower base, the water runs all over, into the bedroom. It is not built to drain properly, especially if the water is fully turned on. The design of the shower area is seriously flawed.
  11. to privacy of personal and financial mattersGloria has reported that in breach of the Mental Health Act, her mail has been opened, most recently a letter containing a T4 Slip. Then Social Worker Leslie Pisani queried Gloria about her monies. Gloria has a financial planner.
  12. to privacy of personal and financial matters.She has reported that someone has phoned her financial planner. What right did they have to do so? Who gave them authority? Why?
  13. be represented by counsel at the court.There was an Application for Guardianship and Trusteeship by Office of Public Guardian & Office of Public Trustee, Lincoln Mar, initiated by Dr. Buchinski, before the surrogate court October 2010. It was adjourned sine die. If she was a prisoner at the Remand Center, a lawyer would be provided to her.It is most noteworthy, that Ms. Pickles who was not represented by council, was able to convince the presiding Justice that the Application should not proceed, that she was competent.She had not been able to retain a lawyer in regard to this Application nor was a lawyer appointed to speak for her at the court.
  14. to her legal documents.Gloria was served the Court Application for guardianship and trusteeship, by a sheriff but briefly gave the document to Dafena (nurse) to keep. When she attempted to retrieve the document, she was denied. Staff showed Gloria the document through the glass of the office but refused to give it to her.
  15. to ethical, respectful treatment by professional staff.She was twice denied the copy of the Court Application by Dr. Candace Walker, who told her: “You’ve been served and that’s it”.
  16. to safe, ethical, compassionate, nursing care by professional staff.In the past, she has refused medication, most notably Anafranil. She states that she is allergic to it and became ill taking this medication.Daily, nursing staff continue to offer and push Gloria to take psychotropic, mind altering medications, Anafranil and Zyprexa, but she refuses.
  17. to be treated with dignity and respectThough a patient may be on the phone, in the middle of a conversation, the phone is cut off from the Office at around 9:00PM. Because the Office exterior is glass, staff can see if someone is using the phone and who, is using the phone.
  18. to have unrestricted visiting by visitors of her choice. Visits to Gloria have been restricted by Dr. Buchinski. He has directed that we must give 24 hour notice of intent to visit, then they will decide if they are able to accommodate us. Visits are to be supervised by staff.

Progress

May 9, 2011 @ 3pm: Intake officer Kathleen Samuel with the Alberta Human Rights Commission directs Elder Advocates of Alberta Society to investigator Erin Raaen-Gossell, stating they have difficulty dealing with the complaint under their jurisdiction.

Response – Human Rights Commission

May 17, 2011
Human Rights Response 1
Human Rights Response 2

Response – AGTA

Gloria #2 AGTA

Response – PPCA

Gloria #1 PPCA

Villa Caritas Visitation Limits

Villa Caritas Directive

Letter from concerned visitor

Dr. Michael Buchinski, Clinical Director
Villa Caritas
16515 88 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5R 0A4

Honourable Gene Zwozdesky,
Minister of Health and Wellness,
#208 Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

May 12/2011

Dear Sirs:

On May 2nd a friend and I went to visit Gloria Pickles on the 2nd floor of your Villa Caratis facility. The time was approximately 6:20 p.m. A polite staff member let us in and brought us to Ms. Pickles door, #2A. We exchanged greetings then went out to the main area.

Just then a large staff person spotted us. He approached us and told us to step aside and follow him. He led us to the outside door of this area and told us to wait outside without giving a reason why. When I asked if he was going to let us back in, he replied he’d be right back and locked the door. We were stunned! I learned later that his name is Ridwan Musa, RPN. A few minutes later he was on the phone and called a female security guard (Annette) who escorted us to the main entrance downstairs. She looked angry and said in a loud voice “Get out. You have no right to be here. Get out now!”

The lobby was full of people including staff who were eating their supper. We felt intimidated, humiliated and embarrassed.

We wondered what was going on as we had not caused any disturbance. Even criminals are allowed to have visitors. If visitors get this kind of mistreatment, it makes me wonder how the seniors are treated in this facility. I can now only suspect there are questionable actions going on behind locked doors and you wish to keep it out of the public eye.

We strongly object to this kind of abuse. We are living in a free society and should be able to peacefully visit with whom we want. We want answers. We want an explanation for this kind of mistreatment along with an apology. We want to continue to visit Ms. Pickles.

Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Regards,

Mary Pelech
10527-55 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T6H 0W8

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