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Takedowns at Covenant Health Villa Caritas

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August 30, 2011

Minister of Health & Wellness, the Honorable Gene Zwozdesky Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB.

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

Solicitor General & Minister of Public Security, the Honourable Mr, Frank Oberle Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB.

Complaint re. Dr. K.L , Psychiatrist, Geriatric unit, Villa Caritas, 16515 88 Avenue, Edmonton, AB. T5R 0A4

Dr. K. L. authorized and essentially ordered the takedown of 80 year old Mrs. G. at Villa Caritas, Edmonton, AB.

There is a barbaric protocol carried out in psychiatric hospitals and hospital psychiatric units known as a “takedown”.

Takedown 1

The protocol of the ‘takedown’ is as follows:

1) A psychiatrist / physician enters Orders in the patient file as follows:

a. May restrain

b. PRN Orders for intramuscular sedatives / anti psychotic injections.

c. May be placed in ”quiet room” (a quiet room is furnished with only a mattress).

These Orders give ordinary ward staff full authority, to at any time, initiate a process known as a takedown.

On August 26, 2011 @ 4:55 PM, N. , charge nurse, (surname unknown, professional status unknown) Unit 2 (A) Villa Caritas, initiated a takedown on an 80 year old patient, Mrs. G. It was the third known takedown of this elderly lady in a period of less than four weeks.

Mrs. G. had been complaining to staff that someone was taking her belongings.

N., called security guard J. to Unit 2 # A. Then J. , N. and an aide, seized the elderly lady, and placed her on her walker. The nursing attendant held her against the walker not allowing her to escape.

J. and N. , each holding an arm, bent the arms forward holding them in place by tightly bending forward her hands and wrists. This is a very painful process. We have been told that it feels as if your wrists would break. In this instance, this is what happened to Mrs. G, her bone(s) was broken, a patient heard the crack as the fracture took place.

Nevertheless, the perpetrators proceeded with the takedown. As usual, there was a lot of hollering by staff throughout the ordeal /process. N. gave the injection/needle (drug) and within an hour another injection. Apparently, during the second injection, the senior hardly complained, only moaned slightly. Mrs. G. was taken to the quiet room and then removed again. She did not have supper that evening.

The next morning, she was brought to breakfast in a wheel chair. Normally she is independently mobile. Can one imagine the pain she was feeling from the fractured arm? There is also bruising on her upper and lower arms. Ward charge nurse, P. H. RN, did not send her to the Misericordia Hospital emergency unit for care until later that morning. A cast was applied to her right arm.

On August 5, 2011, R., RPN, called security guard, M. and initiated a takedown of this same senior for allegedly banging her door. R. and security guard, M. , held shut her door, all the time hollering at her through the door. During that takedown, the phone lines were shut off so patients could not call out and allow the public to hear the hollering and uproar. Possibly the staff hollers to drown out the elder’s cry of pain.

N. had also initiated a takedown of Mrs. G. on July 31, 2011. Mrs. G. has told staff: “Shame on you, I’m 80 years old”. Staff in mental wards and hospitals do not tolerate back talk.


Despite the harm and serious injury caused to Mrs. G. by N. , J. , and other staff on August 26th, 2011, the following evening, August 27, 2011, N. and J. carried out a takedown on E. , who is daily and almost continuously restrained in a chair. E. is restrained with a T strap across abdomen and legs which frequently is uncomfortably tight. Then she complains. She can’t go anywhere. She cannot carry out any movement. Her feet are hanging down and swollen. Sometimes she wails in total distress.

E. was mobile when she entered Alberta hospital but is being disabled because she is being continuously restrained in a chair. Nevertheless, these two brave individuals carried out what is known as a takedown. It was reported to us that E. was given three needles.

We suggest that there are more effective, ethical, compassionate ways to care for elderly seniors than by assaulting them. Do takedowns have a place in the care of the frail, dependent elderly? We don’t think so. We challenge the professionals who are responsible for the violence which is being perpetrated against vulnerable persons, persons who are being detained behind locked doors.

We ask that the entire matter of the takedowns of Mrs. G. and resulting injuries be investigated and addressed.

We submit that takedowns constitute assault, that this matter be addressed accordingly and the criminal code applied.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society,

c.c. Honourable Minister of Seniors, Ms. Mari Anne Jablonski, Honourable Ray Danyluk, MLA Lac La Biche





October 7, 2011

Attention: Hearing Director, Ms. Cathy McCann College of Physicians and Surgeons

APPEAL Re: Complaint Dr. K. L. , Psychiatrist, Assistant Clinical Director, Geriatric unit, Villa Caritas / Alberta Hospital 16515 88 Ave Edmonton.

Further to your correspondence of September 16, 2011.

1) Your reason for dismissal states that our allegations are vague.

We submit that we carefully detailed times and place. We named the offenders. We carefully described the protocol:

“The nursing attendant held her (80 yr. old Mrs. G. ) against the walker not allowing her to escape. John and Nadine, each holding an arm, bent the arms forward holding them in place by tightly bending forward her hands and wrists” (until one arm cracked).

We cited the hollering and shouting of staff which accompanied takedowns (which we believe is intended to drown out the senior’s cries of terror and pain).

2) You state that the physician’s Order does not constitute unprofessional conduct.

Is the College suggesting that it was appropriate, ethical, compassionate protocol that was carried out again and again under the direction and full knowledge of Dr. L. ?

Dr. L. made a. the Clinical decision b. deliberately wrote an Order detailing protocol for the treatment of Mrs. G. .

Dr. L. , a long time professional at Alberta Hospital must surely have understood what his order meant when put into practice by hospital staff. As Assistant Clinical Director he must also be fully knowledgeable about the status of the elderly clientele of Villa Caritas, Unit 2 A.

Dr. L. , must also have understood that his Clinical Decision would be carried out in large part by untrained persons hired off the street.

Security staff are not employees of Alberta Health Services but are contracted persons. The written Order of Dr. L. , gave direction to staff of Villa Caritas, who may or may not have taken any studies in gerontology together with personnel such as aides and security guards.

We submit that takedowns may be appropriate in a maximum security prison to control hardened criminals but unacceptable on a Geriatric ward of frail, elderly osteoporosis prone persons. Many of these elderly cannot even comprehend what is being done to them and why.

Dr. L. and nursing staff did not immediately send Mrs. G. to hospital. Ward staff heard the bone crack! Why did they wait until next day, midmorning? We suppose she needed breakfast. After all, this elder hadn’t had a meal since noon the day before.

We find it troubling that the College of Physicians and Surgeons have not referred this matter to the Edmonton Police Service for investigation. We find it further troubling that physicians of the Misericordia Hospital failed to report the injury to the Edmonton Police Service or at least to the Protection for Persons in Care. There is mandatory reporting of elder abuse in Alberta with fines for failure to do so.

Furthermore, it would seem that both persons, the RN and the security guard had not been disciplined or even cautioned. The evening following the fractured arm incident, another hapless senior was assaulted in a takedown by the same two persons.

Safety and security of person should be the right of every Alberta citizen. The violence of a takedown may result in serious injury and sometimes even death.

We submit that violently restraining and harming a vulnerable, elderly person constitutes assault. Those who condone assault, deserve to be sanctioned.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

c.c. Edmonton Chief of Police, Mr. Rod Knecht
Honourable Minister of Health, & Wellness, Mr. Gene Zwozdesky
Ms. Sue Chandler, College & Association of Registered Nurses.



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