Children of seniors who died of COVID-19 in residence sue Quebec in civil | Coronavirus
André Dumont's son believes the government failed to adequately protect his father during the first wave of the pandemic.
In a civil lawsuit, two families are claiming nine million dollars in damages from the Quebec government for the alleged mistreatment of their parents housed in seniors' residences during the first wave of COVID-19.
Patrick Dumont, Emmanoel Makris and his sister, Vickie Vassiliki Makris, are each claiming punitive damages of three million dollars due to lax sanitary rules practiced during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 and a flagrant lack of instructions surrounding the safety of residents and staff.
According to the document filed with the Superior Court of Quebec on September 9, this lawsuit targets Maison Wilfrid-Grignon, the Groupe Santé Arbec, the CHSLD Pavillon Philippe-Lapointe, the CISSS des Laurentides and the Attorney General of Quebec (for the Government of Quebec and for the Ministry of Health).
According to the lawyer of record, Me George Samet, we are claiming these amounts in punitive damages first and foremost so that it doesn't happen again.
The system has malfunctioned. There have to be consequences. People were left to die in appalling conditions. We didn't take any precautions, even though we knew [the virus] was contagious and serious, says Me Samet.
For me, what is important is to obtain justice. Everyone knows our seniors have been sacrificed, says Patrick Dumont, who hopes that a judgment in their favor will push the government to improve care for seniors.
Mr. Makris believes that a prosecution is the only way to ensure that the government does everything in its power to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again.
< p>“I feel like a victim of the Government of Quebec for what it has done not only to my family but also to many other families across the province.
— Emmanoel Makris
This lawsuit is in addition to the $500 million class action authorized by the Superior Court in October 2019 against the provincial government for the shameful treatment of residents of long-term care centers (CHSLDs). Launched by the Council for the Protection of Patients (CPM), this action targets the Government of Quebec as well as 22 CISSSs and CIUSSSs that administer CHSLDs.
Called to react to the announcement of this new lawsuit, Paul G. Brunet, president and CEO of the CPM, believes that there will never be enough lawsuits to make the state understand that what is it does not offer the people accommodated in terms of quantity and quality of care and services, it will pay for it in compensation.
Mr. Brunet acknowledges that this class action may take several years to complete. The vast majority of victims of this abuse will be deceased, he laments.
This is also why MM. Makris and Dumont have chosen the avenue of a civil suit in the hope that a judgment will be rendered more quickly.
It should also be remembered that a $5.5 million agreement was reached on March 31, 2022 between the residents of CHSLD Herron, their family members and the owners of this private residence for the elderly with loss of autonomy.
Despina Pafou died on May 17, 2020 from COVID-19, an infection she contracted at the Wilfrid Residence -Win.
The document presented to the court cites numerous media reports describing the chaotic situation that reigned in many CHSLDs as well as the testimonies of MM. Makris and Dumont.
Despina Pafou, the mother of Emmanoel Makris, who lived in the intermediate residence Wilfrid-Gagnon, in Sainte-Adèle, was infected in early May 2020 Yet, says Mr. Makris, the management of this residence kept telling the families that everything was under control. I knew the situation was dire when I read newspaper articles.
Her son alleges that his mother was left behind when she was placed in solitary confinement in a room. The workers did not have the equipment or the support necessary to face the pandemic, he laments. People were too scared to come and see her.
Mr. Makris says that after several days, his panicked mother managed to call the police. She said to them, ''I am cold, I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am locked in a room and I cannot get out.' ;' According to Mr. Makris, the police found a residence in chaos and Mrs. Pafou lying on the floor in her room.
Despina Pafou was taken to the hospital, where she passed away on May 17, 2020. Mr. Makris was only able to witness his decline and say his farewells via iPad. She died in the worst way I could imagine: isolated, alone, terrified, he said.
“All of this ruined my life and I'm still trying to figure out what happened. It is a pain that I cannot describe and a pain that is experienced by thousands of families. »
— Emmanoel Makris
André Dumont had been a user and resident of the Pavillon Philippe-Lapointe, a CHSLD located in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, since 2016.
Patrick Dumont's father, André Dumont, was infected in April 2020. It was a worker from a private agency who came to lend a hand who transmitted the virus to several residents.
Mr. Dumont says he too learned about the outbreak by listening to the news. He says his family went through tremendous anxiety, not knowing what was going on. Everything was secret, it was omerta. […] I called, but I never heard back. I understood that the message was not to talk about it.
All the residents of the Philippe-Lapointe Pavilion ended up being infected.
< p class="e-p">Mr. Dumont's father survived his first infection but was infected twice before his death in October 2021 from complications of COVID-19.
“We trust them to take care of our elders. They weren't prepared for this, they lacked equipment, staff, training. ”
— Patrick Dumont
According to Me Samet, these families also fear that the report of coroner Géhane Kamel on the deaths that occurred in CHSLDs will be relegated to oblivion. In her public inquiry report, the coroner affirmed that there was a breach of the moral and societal contract by letting dozens of patients in CHSLDs die in appalling conditions.
The CISSS declined to comment on this lawsuit and Santé Arbec did not respond to our emails.
According to Mr. Dumont, the government, the CISSS and the health system escaped the management of the pandemic. He also denounces the indifference of the authorities. There was zero empathy, zero compassion.
This is why Mr. Dumont wants outgoing Prime Minister François Legault to issue a formal apology to all the families of seniors in residence. If he had balls, it would happen, he said without reservation.
Mr. Dumont finds it hard to understand why, during the current election campaign, the parties do not dare to speak of the catastrophic situation which reigned in the CHSLDs at the time.
I am very surprised. We have a short memory in Quebec. They talk about the third link, the tramway, inflation. These things are important, but we can't pretend they didn't exist.