Hospital “commissars” threaten to ban wife unless she agrees with doctors

 –––––––  Sep 13, 2012 | Related Article | Update of previously reported case – Ajax Pickering Hospital  Court affidavits and evidence reveal deception and intimidation by hospital, doctors and the Public Guardian and Trustee. –––––––

Another story of abuse by health care providers. Seniors at Risk has been working with this Ontario family for the past month, after it was brought to our attention by one of our website readers.

Marilyn Nelson and her spouse Arthur Hippe, both in their sixties, have shared the last 26 years together. Today though, the loving couple is prevented from seeing one another, except for two hours a day in a Toronto-area hospital, where they are not permitted a single moment of privacy.

Arthur Hippe suffered a stroke in late May 2010 and was admitted to Ajax Pickering Hospital east of Toronto. He is paralyzed on his left side and his speech has been affected. He remains in the same hospital today, apparently having received no post-stroke rehabilitation.

Arthur granted Marilyn his Power of Attorney for Personal Care on May 12, 2009, giving her the legal authority to make all his medical care consent decisions. However from the very beginning, the hospital disregarded Marilyn’s legal authority, refused to provide her with Arthur’s medical records, and made continual efforts to thwart her in making care consent decisions on Arthur’s behalf. Marilyn has asked on several occasions that Arthur be moved to a rehab or residential care facility, but the hospital continues to claim that there are no beds available.

Ajax Pickering Hospital is one of two hospitals operated by the Rouge Valley Health System, led by CEO Rik Ganderton (formerly an executive with IBM Canada). The hospital’s motto is “Patients First!”

One day, Marilyn came to visit Arthur and saw that he was staring vacantly, a marked difference. She asked hospital staff if he was on any new medications and was told he was on Zyprexa.

Marilyn Nelson researched the drug and found, to her horror, that, in addition to numerous toxic side effects,  Zyprexa and other antipsychotic drugs are well-known to increase the risk of strokes (cerebrovascular events). Asserting her legal right to provide consent (or not), she instructed the hospital physicians treating Arthur, including Dr. Romas Stas and Dr. Carman Price, to take Arthur off Zyprexa. That’s when the relationship with the hospital escalated further into bewildering hostility, says Marilyn.

One of us has to go, and it’s going to be you!

The doctors did not agree with Marilyn that Zyprexa and other antipsychotic drugs were harmful to Arthur, and in a meeting with the doctors and other hospital personnel, Marilyn says the doctor told her “One of us has to go, and it’s going to be you!”

So, what’s going on, you ask? How is it that a hospital and doctors can ignore a legal document stipulating that another person has full authority and responsibility to make medical care consent decisions?

As Seniors at Risk has reported in other cases, the powers of attorney, representation agreements and other legal documents that we are all urged to have in place, appear to be worth less than the paper they are written on.

Health care facility administrators, doctors and public agencies routinely ignore these legal documents or attempt to intimidate or discredit the individuals who have the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of their loved ones. Instead, doctors and health care facilities impose their own views about what treatment and care a patient should receive. The unaccountable power of health care providers and facilities to bully, threaten and ignore the directives of substitute decision makers, without any consequences, is too often reinforced by banning from the premises anyone who complains or attempts to intervene to protect and care for their loved one.

Another case of banning by health care facility autocrats

Marilyn Nelson is concerned that her husband Arthur is not being cared for properly at Ajax Pickering Hospital. In December 2011, banned from the hospital under allegations by the hospital that police found to be baseless, Marilyn was no longer able to bring Arthur a daily meal, visit or phone him.

As a result of this action, Marilyn missed Arthur’s birthday. With no family or friends living nearby, Arthur was utterly alone. “The worst of it was that he didn’t know why I had suddenly and without warning disappeared from his life!”, cries Marilyn.

Despite the police absolving her of any wrong-doing within a week of the allegation being made, inexplicably the hospital continued the ban for almost two months. Finally, after Marilyn wrote to the hospital appealing for her visiting rights to be restored, the hospital permitted her to see Arthur for one hour a day, under guard. This “favour” was extracted only after Marilyn signed a document agreeing to abide by the doctor’s treatment plan. Marilyn signed that document “under duress” just so she could see Arthur again. The “agreement” included the prescribing of yet another antipsychotic drug, Haldol, a drug with equal or worse side effects than Zyprexa (as the doctor opined in an aside to Marilyn).

When Marilyn was finally permitted to see Arthur again, she was shocked at his weight loss. Arthur’s sister, Thelma Matheson, echoes her concern. “He weighed 190 pounds when he entered the hospital,” says Thelma. Recently, the doctor and hospital staff admitted that Arthur now weighs “maybe 100 pounds”, they weren’t sure exactly.

In Marilyn’s own words

Marilyn Nelson and an elder rights advocate from Seniors at Risk were interviewed by the Sun News program, The Arena with Michael Koren on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Marilyn Nelson provides an overview of what she has endured over the 24 months that Arthur has been hospitalized. Coren, who has had personal experience with family suffering from stroke and requiring hospitalization, expressed shock, likening the conduct of doctors and hospital officials in this case to “thugs”, “bullies” and “commissars” and describing the treatment of Arthur and Marilyn as “sadistic”.

In her interview, Marilyn Nelson explains how she was threatened with not being able to see her partner of 26 years again unless she signed a paper agreeing to abide by whatever treatment the doctor ordered, and how she was threatened by the doctor.

Marilyn Nelson interview:

Seniors at Risk interview

The two video segments run about 10-12 minutes in total.

The relationship with the Ajax Pickering Hospital has worsened, despite the efforts of lawyers who have intervened on Marilyn’s behalf. See this letter to hospital CEO Rik Ganderton sent by a lawyer on behalf of Marilyn. The letter attests in the strongest terms, to Marilyn’s legal authority to make care consent decisions on Arthur’s behalf. The CEO ignored the lawyer.

In the next instalment of this story, you will learn how the hospital usurped Marilyn’s legal authority, and unilaterally placed Arthur on palliative care, despite the fact that he does not have a terminal illness, is not comatose nor in any sort of “persistent vegetative state”. To Marilyn and others who have seen Arthur, he appears to be in no imminent risk of death from the effects of the stroke he experienced, but at great risk of harm from negligent care.










Knowledge. Compassion. Courage. Action.

Take a stand against institutional elder abuse.  

Seniors at Risk is interested in hearing from people in the Ajax – Pickering region who may have had similar problems dealing with this hospital, Ajax and Pickering Hospital, or Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital in Scarborough, both of which are operated by the Rouge Valley Health System.  
Contact SENIORS AT RISK – your information will be kept confidential unless you give us express written permission to share the information with others or with the public.
Be Sociable, Share!


  1. HOSPITAL ‘COMMISSARS’ BAN WIFE… Shocking! sounds like he needs rehab from this horrible hospital!

    Comment by Sandy — July 29, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  2. HOSPITAL ‘COMMISSARS’ BAN WIFE… Please know that many out there are reading and listening to the constant reports of abuse. We must call our local MPP and demand action for our seniors! It is a crisis that is on the edge.

    Comment by lisa seward — August 3, 2012 @ 5:49 am

  3. HOSPITAL ‘COMMISSARS’ BAN WIFE… The government can do nothing except stop funding which it will never do. The health authorities like Moira Stilwell, MLA, and a doctor, told a group of us at the Oakridge Seniors Senior last year, that she cannot do anything as the health authorities are a grovernment upon themselves and they can do whatever they want.

    Comment by audrey — August 4, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  4. HOSPITAL COMMISSARS THREATEN… This hospital is disgustingly terrible. My stepson was just in a terrible car accident. He has a broken pelvis front and back, broken clavicle, broken shoulder, 2 broken ribs and a broken tibia. He is in absolute terrible pain and cannot move an inch without serious pain. His Iv drip machine is broken and constantly beeps. It takes them 45 minutes to change it allowing the pain to take over. He can’t go to the bathroom by himself and needs help. He had to call 4 times for them to come and help him take a poo and this took another hour. The television arm to his tv is broken and could fall onto him without the missing bolt. There answer to this was a piece of tape. The plug in behind his bed is broken. We can’t even plug his phone in because it falls out. The nutritionist came to see him after 3 days to make sure he had no food allergies, ummmm 3 days later? 2 doctors were fighting with each other over his care right in front of him and the first day he was rushed into the hospital it took 12 hours to scan his body for broken bones. This hospital is absolutely terrible. I myself had foot surgery there 3 months ago and my treatment was just as bad.

    Comment by Kevin — January 1, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  5. HOSPITAL COMMISSARS BAN WIFE… Unfortunately, it is the nature of the beast, as Americans will soon learn with Obamacare. One wonders why Americans have not learned from the Canadian experience of a ‘one party rule’ in medicine – state socialist medical care, where doctors are civil servants instead of medical professionals. We don’t have a choice because we voted in or kept in politicians who continue the monopoly medical system unlike virtually every other ‘liberal democracy’ which has a safety net for the poor and a market of choices for medical services like every other aspect for society (except auto insurance, ambulance, firemen, post office, security… the list grows). If socialism worked we wouldn’t have such lineups and taxes to support them.

    Comment by Hermes — March 31, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

  6. HOSPITAL THREATENS WIFE… I am a son working away. Almost every night I lay awake at night in shock, dismayed that nursing homes run by the BC government hospital authority continue to ignore my mother’s wishes and her family’s wishes. They ocassionally humour me, but they do exactly as they please ignoring the personal sovereignty of individuals in their care, including my mother. They continue to ignore the wishes of family. Despite us having the legal authority to make decisions and the welfare of our family at heart, instead the state, in this case Fraser Health and a Tricities, BC nursing home – changes medications without our knowledge or consent, ignores requests for routine changes to my mother’s activities, and the doctor and social worker seem to think that the healthcare of my our mother is up to their discretion.

    Comment by hermes — April 1, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

  7. HOSPITAL COMMISSARS BAN WIFE… We should all be concerned for our own family situations and to be aware that this could happen to us!
    Marilyn Nelson’s sad sad story is actually a love story. Her heartbreak of having to watch (when allowed supervised visits if one can imagine!) her darling husband suffering, when she is helpless to stop or prevent it. I could not believe that what has happened in their lives during the past 3yrs is taking place in our beloved Canada and not a Communist Country!
    What she has had to endure in her late sixties is terribly cruel and enough to give her a stroke if she isn’t careful – unbelievable stress!
    I’ve met Marilyn Nelson. I am impressed with her determination to fight the establishment and not to be browbeaten into giving up. She loves her husband deeply and wants him in a proper stroke facility. Surely this is his right?
    We should all be concerned for our own family situations and to be aware that this could happen to us!
    Please support her in her actions in any way you can, especially prayer.

    Comment by Sheila — August 15, 2013 @ 6:16 am

  8. HOSPITAL COMMISSARS BAN WIFE… I can totally identify with this woman, except I was fighting for my son. Today, I am still doing that and I am also fighting for my Mother who has a POA who has more power in that capacity, than my Mother has in Her own capacity! It’s crazy.
    Not even so much as a court order, ever, to keep me away. Just a powerful POA who has the audacity to write me and advise me I am Powerless. I too am denied access, to my Mother who is 78 with Alzheimers, living somewhere in the Province of Ontario in a private home with cathedral ceilings, somewhere I think in the Hamilton region!
    Seriously, Mister Minister, Attorney General, whatever, whoever you are. Get it Together. Stop abusing our Elders & our Children & our most Vulnerable.
    It ticks ME off. This situation is so incredibly wrong.
    This is another example of the Practices of Punitive Medicine and Physicians abusing their power which really, is supposed to be about; Protection for the Patient, not the Physician.

    Comment by Moira — October 3, 2013 @ 10:13 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Comment moderation is in effect. Please do not submit your comment twice -- your comment will display once it has been approved by a moderator.

back to top LW