Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 09/25/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
The death of a disabled woman choked by her wheelchair seatbelt highlights the need for more staff, better communication and ultimately the closure of the Manitoba Developmental Centre.
That's the bottom line for advocates for the disabled, who are profoundly troubled by the death of 51-year-old Ann Hickey in 2011 at the MDC, one of Canada's only remaining institutions for the handicapped.
An inquest into Hickey's death was held in the spring, and final submissions from all parties, including the People First advocacy group, are due today.
People First's chief recommendation is MDC be closed and residents such as Hickey moved to group homes, where staff have only one or two residents to care for, not a dozen or more.
The facts surrounding Hickey's death in March 2011 were not much in dispute at the inquest.
At about 7:30 p.m., Hickey was belted into a wheelchair while staff were busy getting other residents ready for bed. As the night staff came on shift about 11 p.m., they saw Hickey wheeling herself down the hall using her feet. It wasn't until midnight when one noticed she was no longer in the hall.
She was found in the lounge, where she had slid down in her wheelchair. Her head lay on the seat with the belt strangling her.
She died a few days later in the Portage la Prairie hospital.
The night Hickey died, there were only two staff members monitoring more than 25 residents. They did not know Hickey had a history of sliding down in her wheelchair and ought to be watched closely.
"Obviously, somewhere along the line there was a communication breakdown," said Public Interest Law Centre lawyer Bev Froese, who represents People First.
People First has recommended improvements to staff communication, especially between shift changes and as it relates to patient-safety plans.
They want protocols on restraints followed so residents aren't strapped down only when staff are busy with other duties.
Hickey had been an MDC resident since she was 10 years old and has no immediate family. For at least a year before her death, she was on the MDC's transition list, meaning she was waiting to be discharged into a community group home.
The inquest judge has six months to release his report and recommendations.
The Manitoba government could not offer a comment by deadline Tuesday.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 25, 2013 A5
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Turbulence at the track
PM: I'm Canada's crime fighter
Willis guilty of first-degree murder
Sales pitch to hockey players a lot easier, says Jets GM
Provincial govt. puts off balanced budget until 2018
Key of Bart - Four Little Games
Winnipeg woman 2nd in Manitoba to contract measles
The Jets are Winnipeg’s tribal totem
NDP’s deficit-funded election run
Accused in storage locker infants case released on bail
Glorious sporting past on display at WAG's Olympus exhibition
Vote against merger due to intolerance to LGBT community surprises credit union CEO
What lies behind mystery Calgary ad?
Jets GM enthusiastic about team, future
Deception gives depth to domestic comedy
Jets captain suffering from hernia, Trouba from a broken bone in hand
NHL commish doesn't think 'Katy Perry' chants are sexist
City warns of transit delays as labour negotiations with union heat up
Top 5: Famous facts about the Stanley Cup
Planned power outage expected Thursday for 570 residents in west Whiteshell area
Concerns brought forward about concrete at football stadium says contractor
Jury deliberations could push into the weekend in Kaila Tran murder case
Supreme Court denies Labossière appeal
Protecting kids good politics, but it's much deeper than that for Harpers
Feds to appeal after Omar Khadr wins bail
Dismal season takes toll on Maple Leafs' brand
Diagnostic lab tests suffer from delays in northern Manitoba inquest told
Senate had time for cops, not Duffy: lawyer
Demski drops to ninth on CFL draft rankings
WWE ringing in July at the MTS Centre
Fred & Toody to play WECC June 9
Winpak's net earnings soar 39 per cent in first quarter
Hopes grow for grain farmers
Sawyer Sweeten of 'Everybody Loves Raymond' dies at 19
Harper scores with Jets
Yes, it really is a weather balloon
Get ready for warmer weather
WAG welcomes Olympus exhibit
Police auctioning off recovered bikes this weekend
Harper plans to hold on to his seats