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A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

Friday, April 4, 2014

IMPRISONED BY DOCTORS - ELDERLY CANADIAN COUPLE HIRE LAWYER AFTER BEING HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL WHEN THEY VISIT HOSPITAL TO ENQUIRE ABOUT A DOCTOR - Diagnosed with dementia, they are locked up, deprived of access to their wallet and bank account, and involuntarily medicated and restrained.

A few days ago I posted an article  that exposed how British doctors are being pressured by hospitals to overdiagnose their patients with dementia or Alzheimer's.   This is a very disturbing situation and I suggest you read it because medical protocols tend to expand to other countries, as if by contagion.

UK:  Doctors 'leaned on' to diagnose dementia cases: GPs are told they will lose money if they don't meet their NHS targets

In Canada a simple visit to a hospital can result in your hospital imprisonment, if doctors think that you are not capable of properly looking after yourself.
A Canadian elderly couple have been locked up against their will in a windowless room inside a hospital after they paid a visit to enquire about a general practitioner.  Not only that but they lost control of their bank account and their money. 
After days of confinement they managed to hire an attorney to petition the Supreme Court to be released so that they can return to their own home. 
Here is their story:

CBC News - An elderly Victoria couple has gone to B.C. Supreme Court to try to take back control of their lives, after they were committed and held in hospital after going there for care.
In court documents, the Vancouver Island Health Authority claims Pamela and Douglas Allen were suffering from neglect and poor nutrition because of a range of complex health conditions when they attended Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital looking for care in January.
According to court documents, several doctors diagnosed both with dementia, and each was committed under the Mental Health Act. They are now residing at Victoria General Hospital.

The doctors found both incapable of caring for themselves or each other at their suite in an independent living home for seniors, which they recently bought.
They also had their bank accounts frozen and placed under the control of the Public Guardian.

But the 84-year-olds claim they are capable of looking after themselves with the aid of a nurse, and recorded a video statement from the hospital ward that is now their home and what they describe as their prison.

In the video, Pamela is in a wheelchair and Douglas is confined to a bed by a restraining vest.

"I want to go to my home," says Pamela in the video. "They won't let us go to our own home and we haven't done anything."

Lawyer seeks release

Their lawyer, Jonathan Aiyadurai, said they should be released from the hospital ward where they're being kept.  "They're bored – my clients have not had a breath of fresh air since they went into the General hospital. No windows have been opened for them.  They haven't been allowed outside. The husband has been put in a straitjacket — very draconian and Kafkaesque if I may say, and this is all at the taxpayers' expense."   
Aiyadurai said the Allens are willing to pay for a nurse to visit them daily at their independent living unit, which they bought before being committed.  "Perhaps if my clients need some care – why can't they get that out in the community?"  He said his clients want the public to hear their story, and that's why they recorded the video.  "Wouldn't people like to know that that can happen?"

The couple's legal action also claims they were poorly fed and bathed at the James Bay Care Centre, that Pamela is being treated with insulin against her will, that they have not been allowed to attend their church, and that they have no access to their personal belongings, including Douglas's confiscated wallet.  
The Vancouver Island Health Authority said both had been evicted from a number of independent living facilities due to their refusal to accept home support and their failure to take care of themselves and their residences.  When asked to comment on the case, authority spokesperson Sarah Plank said, "To protect the privacy and confidentiality of our patients, we cannot comment on specific cases."

"Island Health takes our responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of vulnerable adults very seriously. When a vulnerable person is not able to safely care for themselves, or we receive a report of abuse, neglect or self-neglect, we have a responsibility under the Adult Guardianship Act to respond to protect the person’s safety and well-being," Plank said

Read more and see legal papers here
More on the story:
The Allens - Photo Vancouver Sun
  Vancouver Sun - The Allens used to have a nurse come to their Cook Street suite every second day. On Jan. 5, they walked to Royal Jubilee Hospital to ask about the availability of family doctors. 
They were admitted and later transferred to VGH.  "From there, they found themselves on the fourth floor, in the geriatrics ward, and that's where they've been since," Aiyadurai said.
The couple phoned Aiyadurai and on Feb. 11, he wrote a letter to Island Health demanding the couple's release from "illegal detention."
Having dementia makes the Allens more vulnerable "but there are processes in place for that," Aiyadurai said.
Read more and watch video of Douglas and Pamela Allen explaining their situation
 The case of Britain's national health service (NHS)
Doctors 'leaned on' to diagnose dementia cases: GPs are told they will lose money if they don't meet their NHS targets

Leading GP Dr Martin Brunet: GPs with few cases will be desperate to escape a low ranking.  He argues 'naming and shaming' could lead doctors to  'up the numbers' .  But this raises concerns the patient-doctor relationship is being undermined, he warned
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has prioritised increasing dementia diagnosis rates in those patients who don’t have obvious symptoms. He believes GPs are reluctant to carry out tests because there is no effective cure.  But this has raised fears that unnecessary diagnoses will be made for fear of losing funding.
Mr Hunt has endorsed new  targets for diagnosis rates of Alzheimer’s and other forms of the disease. In November, he published a ‘dementia map’ of rates for different clinical commissioning groups (CCG).
Dr Brunet, from Binscombe Medical Centre in Godalming, Surrey, is among growing medical opposition to the strategy. He said there was deep concern that the patient-doctor relationship was being undermined.  The setting of target rates for the diagnosis of any condition is unprecedented, says Dr Brunet, in a personal view in the British Medical Journal.  He said: ‘Dementia is big business and there are many vested interests that stand to benefit from a rise in the number of diagnoses.’
Read more of this interesting article


How the elderly are locked up against their will in the UK
Prisoners of care homes: Devastating report reveals tens of thousands of elderly and vulnerable people locked up against their will.


Double Standard in British Columbia

Authorities in the city of Victoria seem oblivious to the double standard in the treatment of this couple with financial means compared to others suffering from mental illness but who are broke. 

The province of British Columbia allows a large number of poor people with mental illness to roam the streets uncared for, suffering from sicknesses and addictions - completely abandoned except for a small amount of welfare income, if they manage to get it, but not enough for them to live anywhere except for the streets, public parks, or in public shelters. 

Some years ago the province of BC released all patients from Riverview, a large psychiatric hospital.  Those who were unable to adapt to society or find community help became victimized, sometimes freezing to death on city streets.  Or they ended up in prison, although they do not belong there.  


August 2013:  British Columbia mayors call for reopening of Riverview Mental Hospital


The Tyee reports

Research finds a high percentage of long-term homeless suffer from schizophrenia and were abused as children. .... 

Also, because British Columbia requires that an individual have an IQ of less than 70 in order to qualify for long-term support services, those with fetal alcohol syndrome are systematically excluded from care and consigned to homelessness by the province.
Read more -


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