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Neglect at the Edith Cavell Care Centre

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NOTE: Mr. Kurvink tried to charge me almost $1,200 to copy my parents’ charts! Once I submitted a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and an investigation was conducted, the fee dropped to just under $400. Quite a difference!

Lethbridge, AB

March 14, 2008

John Kurvink
Chantelle Management
9110-196A Street
Langley, BC V1M 3B4

Dear Mr. Kurvink:

Enclosed you will find copies of the forms confirming incapacity and my subsequent guardianship of my parents, George and Anne Campbell. I am requesting copies of both their charts in their entirety. I have also remitted the required $25 fee as per your letter. The Ombudsman’s office has already consented to review the PPIC investigation. Regardless of the outcome, I shall be requesting a Health Facility review and will find the charting, or lack thereof, of the care my parents received most enlightening. I have also requested the names of the staff involved in the PPIC investigation as I intend to file charges of perjury with each professional association or government department – this, of course, will also include your administrative employees.

Now I shall review your visit to Lethbridge. We found it most interesting that you stated that you were waiting the results of the PPIC investigation before you served us with the eviction notice from Edith Cavell, especially since when I requested you give me a list of our demands that you could not meet, you resembled the proverbial deer caught in the headlights of a car. You were unable to answer – which, considering you flew all the way from Langley, was rather curious, but very revealing. We were astonished that a decision as radical as the eviction of two senior residents could be reached by hearing only one side of the story – that of your administration.

Your behavior prompted us to come to the conclusion that this eviction was your retaliation for our filing of a PPIC complaint, not to mention the fact that our filing prompted another family to do likewise. You couldn’t have this continuing now, could you? Very telling, the other family’s reaction to the response by the Edith Cavell staff was the same as ours – another coverup! Their mother is dead now and they are older than we are, and weary. I can assure you we are going to pursue this entire matter until accountability is achieved.

I find it ironic that you warned me that I had better be careful what I say or I could be sued for libel, especially in the light of the dismal performance you gave the following day at the Edith Cavell family meeting. You stood there and proclaimed my parents had been happy there – a lie you would have gotten away with, except for one of the resident family members questioning if my parents were able to express their happiness. You were forced to admit they weren’t.

Since my parents were, in your own words, “happy,” I have enclosed some pictures. Perhaps they can be your “poster pinups” for 2008. You can brag about your mission statement – of respect, compassion, and quality care. Since you verbalized such pride in all of this, I know you could not possibly mind me sharing these pictures with various health agencies, seniors’ advocates, government and investigative agencies.

Lets see…I wonder when our father was the “happiest.” Do you think it was when Darlene absolutely denied him the comfort and benefit of an alternating pressure mattress so that within seven days of care in your esteemed facility, he already had a pressure ulcer on his coccyx? Or perhaps it was as his foot rotted, aided by the tight wrapping provided by your staff. How amazing that for a man who supposedly had inadequate circulation, the foot healed entirely once I assumed the care.

Or maybe he enjoyed the excoriated groins he experienced, when the odor was so pronounced in the room that I discovered the oozing mess by following my nose. Or maybe it was the comfort of having stool left in his groins after a supposedly thorough cleaning. Or perhaps the indignity of stool left under his fingernails and in the nail beds several times. If you think that is so trivial, perhaps you’d like to experience it for yourself. Or perhaps it was when his hand was wedged against the arm of his wheelchair and he couldn’t move it but had to endure the pain because he couldn’t express himself. Shall I continue? Believe me, I will be happy to provide you with more photos or examples if these are inadequate.

Now let’s talk about our mother – do you think she was happy when staff put her shoes and wheelchair feet on her furniture and pillows – repeatedly in spite of posted signs? Did your staff not care, were they illiterate or stupid, or was our mother just being harassed? Perhaps you should try it at your mother’s home and see how delighted she is! Or maybe it was all the times she couldn’t reach her call light and therefore lived in constant fear that her needs would not be addressed. Our mother is a woman of frailty and refinement and yet she had a small group of day staff who were persistently rude and disrespectful to her, as well as an R.N. whose language would be right at home at a Longshoremen’s office. Or maybe she was happy when she was forced to walk to the dining room on a fractured pelvis, in spite of her telling how terrible the pain was, and being told by one of your valued staff that she would get Tylenol when she got her pills. I can assure you the tears she shed were NOT tears of joy!

In fact, our mother was NOT happy – she was frightened of several of the staff and the way she was treated on the day shift, as well as the inaccessibility to her call light and fluids. I find it very interesting that her persistent diarrhea stopped as soon as she left your facility and she no longer felt like the victim that she truly was. If this is what you call being happy, then I know you will not be at all offended when I wish you the same “happiness” that my parents were forced to experience while they were in Edith Cavell.

Your administration made the accusation that I intimidated staff; however, I never saw a name or a documented event, nor did I have the opportunity to speak with any of the people I supposedly terrified. However, your administration and some staff displayed resentment at any suggestions to improve care. Darlene’s favorite answer to solving any problem was “If you don’t like it here, take your parents elsewhere.” Some of her other responses were “I have 120 other people to look after,” “You’re the only ones who complain,” and “This only happens to YOUR parents.” We were told by several other residents’ family members that they, too, were the recipients of Darlene’s comments.

Enclosed you will find a letter written by another family member whose father was the recipient of the same type of “quality” care that our family received. Unfortunately, she was too ill at the time to intervene or speak up. Who knows if her father’s death was preventable? This is the guilt with which she lives, after seeing my father’s outcome with my care and interventions.

I have enclosed an obituary of one of your residents. A mutual friend who knew her well described her as a vital, energetic woman, a schoolteacher and an accomplished pianist. When I met her at Edith Cavell, she was a feeble blind woman who would put up her hand and quietly ask for a cup of tea, only to be told she wasn’t getting any tea until she drank her prune juice. Would it have mattered if the tea came first? This woman was denied one of her few joys in life – she could not even control when she could enjoy a cup of tea anymore. “Drink your prune juice!” was a frequent refrain in that dining room. Exactly how is that compatible with your philosophy of care? For shame!

Oh yes – don’t let me forget the violations of Occupational Health and Safety policy – toxic cleaners left in patients’ bathrooms with no WHMIS labels and within easy reach of the demented residents. Then there was the antibacterial hand cleansers left beside the elevators for confused or demented residents to use as hand and face cream – like the occasion I witnessed.

I cannot speak out as a nurse per se, but I can certainly relate my experiences with your facility and staff as a daughter, as can my sister. Let me assure you we will do the best we can to spare other helpless elderly the fate our parents suffered. We are so pleased with the administration, staff and care at St. Michael’s, and are as verbal with our praise as we are with our dissatisfaction with Edith Cavell.
Rest assured, we WILL have every aspect of our parents’ care thoroughly investigated by the appropriate governmental, professional and legal avenues.

Sincerely,

Audrey J. Campbell, RN, BN

/sll

cc:
Cheryl Knight, Director of Continuing Care Facilities, Chinook Health Region (CHR)
Donna Stelmachovich, Vice-President and Senior Program Director, CHR
Dr. R. Ikuta, Senior Medical Director, Seniors’ Health, CHR
Bridget Pastoor, MLA, Lethbridge East

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