Thursday, January 5, 2017

Denial of mental health services resulting in fatality--will there be fatality inquiries done? ------From: Julie Ali < Date: Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 7:50 AM Subject: Fatality inquiry for Janette Peterson and Rachael Longridge--Are they being done? To: JUST OCME Admin Hi, I am inquiring if a fatality inquiry has been requested for the following case:Janette Peterson. Failure to provide care to mentally ill patients is of ongoing concern to citizens. We have recently have the case of yet another mentally ill citizen who was unable to access care resulting in another fatality: Rachael Longridge I am also asking if the second case will result in a fatality inquiry. In a third case (not in Alberta) failure to obtain medical attention resulted in the deaths of multiple family members. I provide the newspaper article about this case below. I provide my earlier correspondence to your office as well. If the fatality inquiries for these two citizens are not being initiated can you explain why? Sincerely, Julie Ali-----------On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:24 AM, JUST OCME Admin wrote: Good morning Ms. Ali, Further to our previous response to your similar request in September 2016, there have been no changes to legislation which would allow us to share information with you. Pursuant to the Fatality Inquiries Act, if the case is one that falls within the jurisdiction of the OCME to investigate, the Chief Medical Examiner may refer the case to the Fatality Review Board for the Board to review and make a recommendation as to whether a public fatality inquiry should be conducted. Please note that the OCME is part of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, a public body under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. In the absence of consent from Ms. Longridge’s or Ms. Peterson’s next-of-kin or personal representative, we are unable to share any specific information with you regarding either case. If a decision is made to conduct a public fatality inquiry into this case, the decision and the date of the fatality inquiry will be posted on my department’s website at: www.justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/fatality/Pages/fatality_schedule.aspx. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner----------

So I contact the OCME about whether fatality inquiries will be done and I am told to bugger off. I can't see why they can't tell me if they are going to be done so I don't have to request them. So dumb.


So I contact the OCME about whether fatality inquiries will be done and I am told to bugger off. I can't see why they can't tell me if they are going to be done so I don't have to request them. So dumb.
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From: Julie Ali <
Date: Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 1:34 PM
Subject: Re: Fatality inquiry for Janette Peterson and Rachael Longridge--Are they being done?
To: JUST OCME Admin <OCME_Admin@gov.ab.ca>, Seniors.minister@gov.ab.ca


Hi,
I am not being nosy. I just want to know because if there is no intention to do the fatality inquiry I will request these inquiries myself.
So if I don't know if you are all doing these inquiries I guess I just have to request these inquiries.

I don't think it is an invasion of privacy to ask if the fatality inquiries are in progress or not. It would save me time and bother but since the GOA is fully inclined to be non-transparent citizens are forced to do more work than necessary to ensure that fatality inquiries are done.
I don't feel this is right.

Sincerely,

Julie Ali

On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:24 AM, JUST OCME Admin <OCME_Admin@gov.ab.ca> wrote:
Good morning Ms. Ali,

Further to our previous response to your similar request in September 2016, there have been no changes to legislation which would allow us to share information with you. 

Pursuant to the Fatality Inquiries Act, if the case is one that falls within the jurisdiction of the OCME to investigate, the Chief Medical Examiner may refer the case to the Fatality Review Board for the Board to review and make a recommendation as to whether a public fatality inquiry should be conducted. 

Please note that the OCME is part of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, a public body under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  In the absence of consent from Ms. Longridge’s or Ms. Peterson’s next-of-kin or personal representative, we are unable to share any specific information with you regarding either case.

If a decision is made to conduct a public fatality inquiry into this case, the decision and the date of the fatality inquiry will be posted on my department’s website at: www.justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/fatality/Pages/fatality_schedule.aspx.

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

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Contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) if you have questions or concerns.

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From: Julie Ali <
Date: Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 7:50 AM
Subject: Fatality inquiry for Janette Peterson and Rachael Longridge--Are they being done?
To: JUST OCME Admin <OCME_Admin@gov.ab.ca>


Hi,
I am inquiring if a fatality inquiry has been requested for the following case:Janette Peterson.

Failure to provide care to mentally ill patients is of ongoing concern to citizens.

We have recently have the case of yet another mentally ill citizen who was unable to access care resulting in another fatality: Rachael Longridge
I am also asking if the second case will result in a fatality inquiry.

In a third case (not in Alberta) failure to obtain medical attention resulted in the deaths of multiple family members. 

I provide the newspaper article about this case below. I provide my earlier correspondence to your office as well.

If the fatality inquiries for these two citizens are not being initiated can you explain why?

Sincerely,

Julie Ali



Family of suicide victim sues Alberta Hospital for alleged non-admittance


(Postmedia Network file photo)
(Postmedia Network file photo)
Sun

LATEST NEWS

TONY BLAIS, EDMONTON SUN

Feb 27, 2016
, Last Updated: 2:03 AM ET
EDMONTON - A mentally ill Edmonton woman's family is claiming she jumped to her death from the seventh floor of the Chateau Lacombe after being turned away at Alberta Hospital.
And the family says in a recent $753,000 lawsuit against the province that it was the third time she was refused admittance at a psychiatric facility — despite her clear need for treatment — and sent away in a taxi.
In a statement of claim filed in court on Feb. 19, the daughter, parents and brother of Janette Peterson allege she was a diagnosed psychiatric patient who had been hospitalized for suicidal tendencies a number of times.
The family claims she took "definite and extreme steps" to attempt suicide in February 2014 -- including renting a hotel room and hiring strangers to harm her -- and say that and all of her treatment records were fully available on the net care system for medical professionals to review.
The family alleges that Peterson, who is diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, had twice tried to commit herself to the Royal Alexandra Hospital's psychiatric unit for her own personal safety and she was denied admittance, provided with cab fare and told to go home.
According to the statement of claim, Peterson posed a clear and imminent threat to herself on Feb. 22, 2014, and her daughter and a friend took her to Alberta Hospital.
The family alleges Peterson clearly presented as suicidal and likely non-compliant with her medications and the admitting nurse assured them that she would be assessed.
However, instead of assessing or admitting Peterson, the family alleges that the hospital turned her away and called her a cab.
According to the statement of claim, Peterson checked herself in at the downtown Chateau Lacombe and jumped to her death from the seventh floor on Feb. 23, 2014.


From: Julie Ali [mailto:
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 11:08 PM
To: JUST OCME Admin
Subject: Re: FW: all fatality reports on patient deaths at Alberta Hospital

Hi,
Can a citizen request a fatality inquiry?
If I can, I would like to request an inquiry for Janette Peterson. 

Sincerely, 
Julie Ali

On Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 9:41 AM, JUST OCME Admin <OCME_Admin@gov.ab.ca> wrote:
Good morning Ms. Ali,

Your email has been forwarded to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) to respond to your question about a fatality inquiry regarding the death of Janette Peterson.

Pursuant to the Fatality Inquiries Act, if the case is one that falls within the jurisdiction of the OCME to investigate, the Chief Medical Examiner may refer the case to the Fatality Review Board for review and recommendation to me on whether a public fatality inquiry should be conducted. 

Please note that the OCME is part of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, a public body under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  In the absence of consent from Ms. Peterson’s next-of-kin or personal representative, we are unable to share any specific information with you regarding Ms. Peterson’s case.

If a decision is made to conduct a public fatality inquiry into this case, the decision and the date of the fatality inquiry will be posted on my department’s website at: www.justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/fatality/Pages/fatality_schedule.aspx.

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner


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'She cared for her mother, and her mother loved her,' says friend of slain nursing graduate

FIRST POSTED: MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2016 04:39 PM MST | UPDATED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2016 08:48 AM MST
Rachael LongridgeRachael Longridge
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A nursing graduate just days away from starting her career when she was killed, Rachael Longridge was a devoted friend and volunteer, a doting sister and a mentor to her fellow students, says one of her closest friends.

On Monday, Danielle Bourque was mourning her 21-year-old friend, who died of severe injuries sustained in a northwest Edmonton house Friday. Charged with second-degree murder and possession of an offensive weapon is the victim's mother, Christine Longridge, 50.

"Rachael was a nurse with every part of her being," said Bourque, who became fast friends with her after meeting in the University of Alberta nursing program four years ago.

Rachael Longridge felt compelled to become a nurse after her father was diagnosed with cancer while she was in high school, Bourque said. He died last year, which exacerbated her mother's problems with mental illness, Bourque said.

“She cared for her mother, and her mother loved her," Bourque said.

When Bourque's own mother moved away, Christine Longridge made her feel like part of the family, Bourque said.

Although Rachael Longridge tried to get help for her mother, the health system failed them, she said.

Her friend was a devoted older sister to her brother, Michael, frequenting hockey games to watch him play, she said.

She also volunteered as a companion to an elderly woman, and in her last year of school, worked as a home-care nurse, seeing some of Edmonton's most vulnerable citizens in the inner city, Bourque said.

Although her father became gravely ill while she was in school, Rachael Longridge kept up with classes — a testament to her perseverance, Bourque said.

Intent on becoming an acute-care nurse, Rachael finished her final practicum earlier this month at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. Shortly after, she learned she had landed a job there. It's rare for a graduating nurse to land a full-time position fresh out of school, Bourque said.

Bourque said she felt "truly blessed" to be her friend.

"The sort of compassion that she showed to people and patients — she just had the warmest heart for people, and was able to connect with them," Bourque said. "It's not every nurse who has that type of empathy and that type of caring. It's something that I'm still learning every day to do."

Friends are planning a candlelight vigil at her alma mater — outside the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy on the U of A campus — from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"Even if you did not know Rachael very long, briefly, or knew of her in passing, she had the ability to create strong bonds with so many people regardless of how long you knew her. She was genuine, had an infectious personality, and cared so much for people. Please join her family and friends to celebrate and mourn the life of this amazing daughter, sister, friend, cousin and nurse," wrote her friends on Facebook.

As plans for the vigil took shape online Monday, candles burned amid bouquets of snow-dusted flowers on the steps of the home on 132 Street near 122 Avenue where the young woman died.

The sidewalk and steps of the home were swept clean of snow, and a Christmas tree was still visible through the window. A pink Beanie Baby and a card that read "It's faith that lifts us up, love that brings us comfort, and strength that allows us to move on," had also been placed as a tribute.

Meanwhile, an online crowd-funding campaign set up by a supporter of the family had raised more than $20,000 by Monday afternoon. According to the creator of the Gofundme page, funds raised will be used to cover funeral costs and to assist her brother.
With files from Paige Parsons

jfrench@postmedia.com




Police vehicles are seen outside a residence in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., on Jan. 4, 2017. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
ATLANTIC CANADA

Afghanistan veteran, family found dead in Nova Scotia home in apparent murder-suicide

LINDSAY JONES AND RENATA D’ALIESIO
UPPER BIG TRACADIE, N.S. and TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2017 9:38AM EST
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 05, 2017 9:20AM EST
Five days ago, Lionel Desmond and his extended family celebrated New Year’s Eve with a lobster feast and an evening of chatter, laughter and acoustic guitar at a family member’s cabin. Mr. Desmond, an Afghanistan war veteran coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, arrived at the gathering with his wife, Shanna Desmond, and their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, after an afternoon of horseback riding.
All seemed well with the family that night. “He was talking and carrying on, but when someone is sick in the brain, you don’t know when someone is going to snap,” said Catherine Hartling, Ms. Desmond’s aunt, who lives across the road from the Desmond family in Upper Big Tracadie in northeastern Nova Scotia. “That was the last time I seen any of their faces.”
Early Tuesday evening, Mr. Desmond’s sister, Chantel, and her boyfriend dropped by the family home to say hello. They found Mr. Desmond dead on the floor. Farther inside, three more bodies lay slain – that of his wife, daughter and 52-year-old mother, Brenda Desmond, who was visiting for the holidays.
The Nova Scotia RCMP suspect the two women, the child and Mr. Desmond were killed by gunshots, but only Mr. Desmond’s wounds appeared to be self-inflicted. There were no signs of a break-in.
The apparent murder-suicide has rocked the small community, where several members of the family live, and rattled the country’s military members and veterans. The tragedy is raising questions about the mental-health care and support provided to Mr. Desmond after he returned from the Afghanistan war in the summer of 2007 and after the corporal was released from the Canadian Forces only 18 months ago.
Mr. Desmond is among at least 72 soldiers and veterans who have killed themselves after serving on the perilous Afghanistan mission, an ongoing Globe and Mail investigation has found. Most have only taken their own lives, but just before Christmas in 2015, Robert Giblin, a veteran of two Afghanistan tours, repeatedly stabbed his wife, Precious Charbonneau, before they fell from a high-rise apartment in Toronto. In an obituary, Mr. Giblin’s family said he suffered with PTSD, but had received treatment and was putting “the pieces of his life together.”
Neither the Canadian Forces nor Veterans Affairs is involved in the Upper Big Tracadie police investigation. Inspector Lynn Young of the RCMP said two firearms were found inside the home. The cause of the deaths will be confirmed by the medical examiner.
“This is incredibly tragic for everyone involved,” she said Wednesday at a media conference.
Spokespeople for Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs said they could not discuss Mr. Desmond’s medical condition or treatment due to privacy reasons. Ms. Hartling said about a year ago, after an “incident” with his wife, Mr. Desmond was sent to Montreal for psychiatric treatment and was on medication to treat PTSD. She said he was also banned from owning firearms.
“The poor guy needed help and they sent him up to Montreal and put a little Band-Aid on him and sent him back,” Ms. Hartling said. “As soon as he got his pension, it seemed like they walked away from him. They just wanted to cover themselves.”
Ms. Hartling said this tragedy should seize the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Rev. Elaine Walcott, a relative and multifaith chaplain in Halifax, said Mr. Desmond went to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish just last week, but was told a bed was not available. The provincial health authority said it could not comment due to privacy legislation.
“I do not want the military to believe there is no further obligation to address,” Ms. Walcott said. “The vibrations of PTSD will be felt in the community for years to come.”
Mr. Desmond’s wife, Shanna, had recently graduated from nursing school at St. Francis Xavier University and had been working since the spring as a float nurse at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital.
One colleague, who didn’t want her name published, said Ms. Desmond was a devoted nurse and would drive in treacherous weather to make it to her shift. She recently mentioned her husband’s PTSD to the colleague when the two health-care workers were attending to a patient suffering from the disorder.
“She was very empathetic with that situation because she knew how difficult [it was] and how that touched her own family,” the co-worker said.
Another colleague, Mindy Diggins, said Ms. Desmond felt proud to be a nurse and had bright hopes for her future. Ms. Diggins last heard from her Tuesday at 1 p.m. – five hours before she was found dead. Ms. Desmond had wished her a happy birthday on Facebook.
Veterans’ advocates are calling for answers from the Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs. Former soldiers Michael Blais and Aaron Bedard, both members of a mental-health advisory committee struck by Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, believe reviews of veterans’ suicides should be mandatory.
Because Mr. Desmond was no longer in the army, the Forces will not hold a board of inquiry into his death to determine what contributed to his actions and whether he received sufficient care – as it does in the suicides of active-duty members. Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, does not conduct inquiries into the deaths of former soldiers, nor does it routinely examine veterans’ suicides to determine whether there are lessons to help prevent further tragedies.
“I have been terrified that this would happen for a number of years now,” Mr. Blais said of the Desmond family tragedy.
Mr. Bedard added: “We need answers. What kind of support was he getting?”
Ms. Hartling said Mr. Desmond was known for chopping wood and shovelling snow for his neighbours. Before he was discharged from the military in July, 2015, Mr. Desmond, an infantry soldier with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Gagetown, N.B., spent about a year in a casualty support unit created during the Afghanistan mission.
Known as the Joint Personnel Support Unit, the JPSU is supposed to help military members return to work or smooth their transition out of the Forces by assisting them with paperwork and benefits and helping to ensure they don’t face gaps in care. The JPSU, however, which has been under review by military brass for more than a year, has long lacked adequate staffing and resources.
Retired sergeant-major Barry Westholm, who quit the Eastern Ontario JPSU and the Forces in 2013 because of the chronic problems, said fixes to the JPSU are taking too long. The military “did not properly prepare for the PTSD wave,” he said. “It’s been window dressing.”
A recent Globe investigation that examined 31 of the 72 suicides of Afghanistan war veterans showed eight had spent time in the JPSU. On Nov. 12, a ninth soldier whose last post was at the JPSU killed himself, The Globe confirmed. Mr. Desmond’s death raises the JPSU suicide toll to at least 10.
The Canadian Forces said Mr. Desmond joined the military in 2004 and deployed to Afghanistan from January, 2007, to August of that year. The Afghanistan mission was his only overseas tour.
“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased,” a Veterans Affairs spokesman said. “We are working hard to ensure that each and every time a veteran comes forward with a mental-health concern, they receive the support they need.”
Veteran Trevor Bungay served with Mr. Desmond in Afghanistan during an intense tour of fighting. Mr. Bungay, a master corporal then, was second in command of their section. He said Mr. Desmond was “the perfect soldier.”
“He was one of those go-to guys,” Mr. Bungay recollected. “He wouldn’t say no to anything and he always had a smile on his face.”
The pair talked now and then about PTSD, a shared diagnosis. “What we had to do over there, people don’t understand,” Mr. Bungay said. He was shocked to hear of the apparent murder-suicide.
“No matter what happened,” he added, “Lionel Desmond was not a monster. He had a big heart and loved his family.”
“He came out and he said, ‘It’s not pretty in there’.”
The boyfriend said he had called 911 and was told not to let anyone in, Hartling said.
“I said, ‘Does anyone have a pulse,’ and he said, ‘No,“’ said Hartling.
Deputy warden Sheila Pelly of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough said the deaths have stunned the community, adding that she knew the people but did not want to comment.
“Everybody’s in shock,” she said. “They can’t believe it.”
— With files from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa and Aly Thomson in Halifax
Follow Renata D’Aliesio on Twitter: @renatadaliesio

Also on The Globe and Mail

Military should treat PTSD sufferers with greater respect: Afghanistan veteran (The Globe and Mail)

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