Starvation at the Grey NunsHome > Euthanasia Issues > Starvation at the Grey Nuns
The following is a presentation made by Mrs. Bev Headington at the Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society Press Conference held at the Old Timer’s Cabin on May 21, 2006.
Mom suffered intense pain. She was ALWAYS lucid – she knew what was happening at all times and was at the mercy of her care givers.
- At the UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
Mom would say “MY BUM IS BURNING – MY BUM IS BURNING. PUT SOME VASELINE ON IT.” The pasty stool would eat away at the tender area in the crease. Can you IMAGINE the intense pain she suffered!
The nurse would say “JUST LEAVE HER FOR 10 MINUTES AND SHE’LL FORGET ABOUT IT.”
This is care? This is ABUSE! My sister and I would do our best to clean her and put some vaseline on her to stop the burning.
- At NORWOOD Care Center – care givers were AWARE mom had two frozen shoulders that were very painful – but they would always yank these shoulders when they were turning her.
Mom would holler “OW – OW – OW. WHY ARE YOU HURTING ME? WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN?”
The care giver’s reply was – “BECAUSE I’M A BITCH.”
Mom replied “ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE BITCHES OUT OF ALL OF US?”
Another time when mom said OW-OW-OW – the care giver said “WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS SAYING OW-OW-OW!”
Mom replied “BECAUSE I’M IN PAIN.”
The care giver’s said “I’VE SEEN PEOPLE DIE WITH MORE PAIN THEN YOU HAVE.”
Mom replied “DO YOU WANT US ALL TO DIE?”
Is this COMPASSION?? Empathy?? What did mom do to deserve this?
- At DR. GERALD ZETTER Care Center – mom SUFFERED MORE INTENSE PAIN. She acquired a bedsore (which ultimately contributed to her demise). This bedsore WAS ALLOWED to blossom from a superficial (looney size sore) on December 10 to a stage III rapidly progressing decubitus ulcer on January 2. Superficial areas spread across her buttocks for about 2 cm on either side of the ulcer. These ulcers are preventable! An ulcer of this nature is evidence of NEGLECT. LACK OF HYGIENE – NUTRITION – HYDRATION – POSITIONING – INFECTION CONTROL. THERE MUST BE INCREASED NUTRITION AND HYDRATION TO ALLOW FOR PROPER HEALING OF THE WOUND.
She received neither proper hydration nor nutrition as well as insufficient positioning. We had to almost beg to have mom taken to an acute care hospital when we saw she was not well. The Dr. at Zetter center said MOM HAD A BUG AND THEY COULD GIVE HER ANTIBIOTICS AT THE CENTER.
We INSISTED mom be taken to the University hospital.
The diagnosis – mild heart attack, aspiration pneumonia, dehydration, and under feeding. The Dr. At the Unisersity hospital was SHOCKED at what he saw and told up this was “TOTAL NURSE NEGLECT.” If PROPER CARE had been given – mom would not have gotten this ulcer, and would PROBABLY BE ALIVE TODAY. This was the beginning of the end.
We had her moved from this care facility. We went to the 3rd floor of the Zetter center to complain about the LACK of care mom had received while she was at this facility. We were advising them we were going to pursue this matter. We were taken to the 3rd floor administrator who told us that this was not the first time people complained. She indicated the facility would get a ‘slap on the wrist’ and it would be business as usual.
WHERE’S THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF THIS FACILITY?
- At the GREY NUN’S HOSPITAL – she was literally STARVED TO DEATH! Out of the 46 days she was in this hospital – SHE HAD LITTLE OR NO FOOD FOR 31 DAYS. It was either a plugged tube or TUBE FEED WAS PUT ON HOLD. Mom told us I FEEL WEAK – I’M HUNGRY.” She KNEW what was happening and was powerless. She was in their clutches!! THEY MADE THE RULES. We BEGGED for food. Mom was suppose to be on continuous feed so it was important that she have “continuous feed”. Feed was on hold Feb. 1, 2, 3 and on the 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19 there were problems with tube feed plugging therefore tube feed and medications on hold sometimes for several hours at a time. These problems were due to improper administration of medications.
Her medications were not crushed properly and large chunks would block the tube and there were times when incompatible medications would be given at the same time which again would gel like concrete in the tube. All this of course equating to LACK OF NOURISHMENT. On Feb. 25, 26, 27, 28 tube feed was on hold and again on March 2-6, then again on March 9-19.
MOM PASSED AWAY ON THE 19TH OF MARCH. SHE STARVED TO DEATH! People are uncomfortable when they haven’t eaten for a few hours. Can you IMAGINE NOT HAVING ANY FOOD OR WATER FOR 11 DAYS? Wouldn’t you be weak? Wouldn’t you be tired? CAN YOU IMAGINE THE DIFFICULTY YOUR BODY WOULD HAVE TO HEAL ITSELF WITHOUT NUTRIENTS! On February 8 the family was at the hospital to celebrate mom’s 89th birthday with her. She conversed, joked and had a few chuckles with us. She was ready to do this “again next year”. With all the pain and suffering she had endured – she was NOT READY TO DIE.
As she once said “I’m a tough old bird.” The doctors take an oath FIRST DO NO HARM. Why was the order given to HOLD FEED SO OFTEN? This continual lack of food and water made her weaker and weaker. There was NO NOURISHMENT TO HEAL OR SURVIVE. Is this not considered HARM? At one time one of her doctors said “THIS COULD BE CONSTRUED AS MURDER” as he was contemplating withholding food.
IS THIS ACCOUNTABILITY?????? IS THIS – DO NO HARM??? The Vatican said the decision to discontinue tube feed was “AKIN TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR SOMEONE WHO HAD COMMITTED NO CRIME”. OUR MOM COMMITTED NO CRIME – SHE DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE BY THE DECISIONS OF THE DOCTORS. THIS SHOULD BE GOD’S DECISION. SHE HAD A RIGHT TO LIFE!
- WHY ARE THE DOCTORS ALLOWED TO BURY THEIR DECISIONS/MISTAKES WITHOUT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE? THEY MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE! HOW CAN SOCIETY ALLOW THIS???
- WHY ARE THE OPERATORS OF THE CARE FACILITIES NOT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE ENTRUSTED TO THEIR CARE? THIS IS BIG BUSINESS. A LOT OF MONEY PASSES THROUGH THE HANDS OF THESE OPERATORS – WHERE IS THE CARE??? THEY MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!
- ABUSE IS NOT “INTENTIONAL NEGLECT”. ABUSE IS WHEN HARM COMES TO A PERSON. IT APPEARS THE LAWS ARE SET UP TO COVER THIS ABUSE – THE LAWS ARE SET UP FOR “INTENTIONAL NEGLECT”. THE LAW MAKERS MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!
- WE HAVE CONTACTED CAPITAL HEALTH, CARITUS HEALTH, SEVERAL MLA’S, PROTECTION FOR PERSON’S IN CARE, HEALTH FACILITIES REVIEW COMMITTEE – to mention a few. The results were LESS THAN ADEQUATE. WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTABILITY?
- I SPOKE WITH A LAWYER AND WAS TOLD THEY WOULD NOT WORK ON A PERCENTAGE BASIS AS I WOULD NOT LIKELY WIN. IT WOULD APPEAR THE LAWS ARE SET UP TO PROTECT THE ABUSERS. WHERE ARE THE LAWS TO PROTECT THE VICTIMS? DO THEY NOT HAVE RIGHTS? THERE MUST BE ACCOUNTABILITY TOO MUCH ABUSE IS HAPPENING NO ONE IS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE. WHY???????