Monday, April 06, 2009

Disabled Woman Inexplicably Drowns in Tub; Coroner Thinks about an Inquest 8 Months Later

"More than eight months after her death [in a Group Home, Community Living South Muskoka], regional supervising coroner William Lucas is doing a preliminary investigation to see if an inquest is warranted."
"If [June] Elliott had been living at Huronia, her death would have triggered a mandatory investigation." (Trish Crawford, The Toronto Star, 3 April 2009)
June Elliott lived for 35 years in Huronia, a long-term care institution, one of several closed down by the government because the current idea is that the intellectually disabled are better off in group homes. Ministry representatives and Huronia staff wrote up an extensive "personal plan highlighting her needs" for the group home they transferred her to, where they said she'd be better off.
"Under the heading Positive Rituals or Routines Requiring Assistance, it states, "Because June does not have any knowledge around safety issues, she needs supervision all of the time"; under Having a Bath, "Requires hands-on support from you to do everything with her. Usually has it in the morning.""
Elliott drowned in the tub.
"An investigating police officer said she had been left alone in the bath for privacy."
Privacy. Uh huh. People seem more concerned about privacy and human rights than about spending the time and effort required to care for the least among us. And so a woman died, her family devastated. She wasn't the only one.

Fifty-three people have died in group homes for the developmentally disabled this year. That's about one person every 1.5 days. Apparently most from natural causes, but we have to take the word of bureaucrats because, again, privacy trumps transparency, which ensures safety and caring for the most vulnerable among us. And we just don't know really, truly how many died inexplicably.

No comments: