U.S. prosecutes abuse by health care providers, Canada turns a blind eye
Shocking video flashed across Canada several weeks ago showing nursing staff forcibly injecting powerful antipsychotic drugs into the body of a bound and hooded, but calm, teenage girl, “without her consent and for no apparent reason,” (Toronto Star). By law, and by common sense, prescription drugs are to be administered only when there is a clinical indication that they will have a beneficial therapeutic effect.
Ashley Smith entered Canada’s youth health care/prison system at the age of 14 for the crime of throwing crab apples at a postman. After several years of “treatment”, much or most of it in solitary confinement, debilitated by forced prescription drugs, Ashley strangled herself while prison staff stood idly by, watching. A coroner’s inquest is underway.
We associate state beatings, torture, or injecting drugs into a person as punishment or threat, with the brutality of the Soviet Gulag, or the depravity of the U.S. military prison Abu Ghraib, or modern-day China’s organ harvesting from still-live prisoners. But this is Canada, this is today. We ought to be shocked, ashamed, and galvanized into acting.
What if young Ashley Smith had been an elderly woman in a Canadian nursing home or care facility instead of a jail?
There would likely be no video evidence recorded to reveal the brutal treatment by health care providers. Ashley Smith’s plight would have been hidden, her death unnoticed, unreported and unpunished.
Why? In Canada, mandatory video surveillance in prisons is designed to protect both inmates and staff. However, elderly citizens in Canadian hospitals and nursing homes have no such protection. Instead, unlike the U.S. (see below), Canadian governments and courts vigorously prohibit video surveillance inside the hospital and nursing home rooms (more…)