– hospital lawyers ask to have court file sealed
October 17, 2013 Update
CHEX-TV removes Time to Die from their website
CHEX-TV’s investigative series Time to Die chronicles the story of Arthur Hippe, a 69-year-old stroke patient, and his wife Marilyn Nelson’s efforts to have him released from Ajax Pickering Hospital. Seniors at Risk reported that CHEX-TV aired Part 1 of the investigative series Time to Die on October 3, 2013. CHEX-TV posted Part 1 to the TV station’s website archives. We have since discovered that CHEX-TV removed Part 1 after being threatened by lawyers for the Rouge Valley Health System, the organization that operates the hospital.
BUT you can still view Part 1 of Time to Die by clicking on the video that Seniors at Risk has posted below.
Lawyers threaten CHEX-TV
Lawyers for Ajax Pickering Hospital are threatening action against CHEX-TV. This appears to be the reason CHEX-TV chose not to run Part 2 of their investigative report. CHEX-TV had planned to air Part 2 the day after Part 1 aired. Scroll further down to read about the hospital’s latest effort to keep information from the public.
It’s a desperate plea from an Ajax woman. She says her husband is being held hostage by a hospital there and given anti-psychotic drugs against her wishes. Pamela Vanmeer has been investigating this case for months and tonight brings us part one of her special series Time to Die.
Del asks: “Can you give us the link to Part 2 Time to Die [CHEX-TV investigative report]? I am unable to find it. I would like to know what the “specific provisions” are that are going to be given in Part 2.”
Part 2 of Time to Die has not yet been aired by CHEX-TV.
The morning after Part 1 was aired, lawyers for Ajax Pickering Hospital (Rouge Valley Health Systems) complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council in an apparent effort to have the TV station’s license removed. They alleged that CHEX-TV’s investigative reporter, Pamela Vanmeer, lied to the hospital about whether she had recording equipment with her while visiting Arthur Hippe in hospital.
It is noteworthy that the hospital and their lawyers did not deny any of the facts reported in the CHEX-TV investigative report.
The reporter had permission to take photos of Arthur from Arthur Hippe’s wife, who is his Power of Attorney for Personal Care. As the hospital requested, the reporter did not take or broadcast pictures of staff, other patients or visitors on hospital property. It is not against the law for anyone, including a reporter, to bring recording equipment into a hospital.
The owners of CHEX-TV (Corus Communications) appear to have been intimidated by Ajax Pickering Hospital (Rouge Valley Health System) into not broadcasting Part 2 of Time to Die, the rest of the story about the hospital’s refusal to release Arthur Hippe, and their mistreatment of him and his rights, and of his wife, Marilyn Nelson. CHEX-TV is awaiting the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s response to the hospital’s complaint.
We ask the obvious question, “What is Ajax Pickering Hospital hiding?”
Doctors who admitted to secretly administering the antipsychotic drug Haloperidol (Haldol) to a 69-year-old stroke patient are refusing to transfer him to another health care facility, despite ongoing concerns for his safety and well being.
This case was scheduled to be heard in Superior Court on October 1st, but the appeal date is being set for a later date. Lawyers for the Ajax Pickering Hospital (Rouge Valley Ajax & Pickering) are now asking to seal the court file, presumably to prevent information incriminating the hospital and doctors from being made public. The man’s family has given permission for the information to be made public.
Documents filed in court reveal that the hospital made an offer in March 2013 to pay for the man’s care at home for the rest of his life, an offer the hospital made in writing but did not honour.
Arthur Hippe has been at Ajax Pickering Hospital since May 2010 after having suffered a stroke. His wife, Marilyn Nelson, is Mr. Hippe’s appointed Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POA). She and Mr. Hippe’s family consider the frequent use of the antipsychotic drug Haldol to be unnecessary, inappropriate and harmful. Medical experts confirm their concerns.
This case went to Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) in January 2013, a body that adjudicates disputes between patients and doctors. The CCB confirmed Ms. Nelson’s legal authority to make care consent decisions for Mr. Hippe. However, inexplicably, the CCB also ordered her to comply with the doctors’ treatment plan. She is appealing that decision in Superior Court.
Arthur Hippe has left-side paralysis and is unable to speak more than a few words or phrases. He requires a wheelchair for mobility, but he does not require any artificial life support devices such as a ventilator, feeding tube, catheter, etc. Marilyn Nelson and Mr. Hippe’s family have requested that Mr. Hippe be transferred to another facility where he can be assessed and provided with care more suitable for stroke patients. Doctors at Ajax Pickering Hospital refuse to transfer Mr. Hippe even though another, more appropriate, care facility have said they are willing to accept him as a patient.
The issue of battery, a Criminal Code offense, arose while the Consent and Capacity Board hearing was in progress. On February 1, 2013, immediately after applications for a hearing were filed with the CCB, lawyers representing Ajax Pickering Hospital physicians, Dr. Romas Stas (GP) and Dr. Carman Price (internist), gave written assurances that Mr. Hippe was no longer being administered Haldol (haloperidol).
At the same time, counsel for Mr. Hippe, Alvin Schieke, had issued a warning notice in writing to the doctors’ lawyers, saying, “…any application of anti-psychotic, anti-anxiolytic or mood stabilizing drugs, chemical compounds or treatments to my client without the express, written consent of his Substitute Decision Maker [POA] shall be considered a battery.”
On March 5, 2013, it was discovered that the doctors had secretly administered at least four doses of Haldol since February 1, without obtaining consent from the patient’s Substitute Decision Maker or even informing her of the medical treatment after the fact – a direct contravention of Section 25 of Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act (HCCA).
The Ontario Health Care Consent Act does permit a one-time “emergency” administration of a drug without consent, but requires the physician to notify the patient or substitute decision maker as soon as possible thereafter. Repeat administration of a drug without consent is not permitted under the Act.
In an email written to the doctors’ lawyer on March 7, 2013, Mark Handelman, counsel for Marilyn Nelson, stated that these incidents were “a clear breach of the provisions of s.25 HCCA, even without regard to the unequivocal withdrawal of consent to that specific treatment. Your failure to comment on Dr. Price’s attempts to contact [the SDM] at any point is telling. Frankly, I find Dr. Price’s current handling of this matter –– with 7 lawyers looking on –– astonishing.”
The Consent and Capacity Board panel (in this case a single person, Toronto lawyer Lora Patton) did not address the admission of this unlawful conduct by the doctors in her reasons for decision. While a CCB Order confirmed that Marilyn Nelson is Arthur Hippe’s lawful Substitute Decision Maker (SDM), Ms. Patton ruled that nevertheless, Ms. Nelson must consent to the doctors’ treatment plan, which includes the frequent administration of Haldol. If she does not consent, she will lose her SDM authority, likely to the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee office. Marilyn Nelson is appealing, asking Superior Court to overturn the CCB Decision forcing her to consent to the doctors’ treatment plan.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently overturned other court decisions – including that of the Consent and Capacity Board – that permitted doctors at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital to secretly administer an antipsychotic drug to a patient.
[ Anten v. Bhalerao, http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2013/2013ONCA0499.pdf ]
The doctors at Ajax Pickering Hospital have resumed administering Haldol to Mr. Hippe despite Ms. Nelson’s objections. The hospital has refused to provide her with medical records to confirm the frequency and amount of medications he is being given, and she fears that his life is in imminent danger as a result.
Lawyers for the doctors and hospital now asking to have court file sealed
Lawyers for the doctors and Ajax Pickering Hospital recently applied to have the court file sealed claiming Ms. Nelson included “privileged information” and other materials they don’t wish the public to know about. They did not identify what information they object to, and have asked that the entire file be sealed.
Marilyn Nelson’s appeal factum – a document already widely distributed online, including on the Seniors at Risk website – includes evidence of “battery” and evidence confirming the hospital’s lawyer’s offer “pay for Mr. Hippe’s care at home for the rest of his life.”
The Ajax Pickering Hospital withdrew this offer two weeks later without an opportunity for discussion. Ms. Nelson believes the offer was not genuine and was a deliberate act of bad faith on the part of the doctors and hospital.
OTHER STORIES ABOUT ARTHUR HIPPE published on Seniors at Risk:
Knowledge. Compassion. Courage. Action.
Take a stand against institutional elder abuse.