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Resident's violent outbursts recalled

Nurse tells inquiry she was chased, beaten

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A nurse chased and beaten by nursing home resident Joe McLeod more than once said no one at Parkview Place dealt with his violent behaviour other than advising staff not to call police for help.

"In the nursing station on the clipboard, there was a typed-up document... saying we're to call a code white, not police," Heidi Williams told the inquiry into the death of Frank Alexander.

The Parkview Place resident with Alzheimer's disease was pushed to the floor by McLeod in March 2011 and died as a result of head trauma. McLeod, also an Alzheimer's sufferer, had been admitted to Parkview Place earlier after being held in the Winnipeg Remand Centre for assaulting his wife.

The inquest heard Monday McLeod's transfer from jail and admittance to the downtown personal care home on October 2010 was a rush job, during which usual protocols were jumbled.

On Tuesday, Williams testified she was chased and punched in the face by McLeod. She said she saw him choke a health-care aide and chase another one using a bedside table "as a weapon."

Williams said although she witnessed McLeod's violent outbursts, she wasn't asked about them by nursing-home staff or asked to file any reports.

Williams, a licensed practical nurse who worked at Parkview Place for nearly 30 years and is now on leave, testified about some of McLeod's violent episodes while she was working nights.

"There was a look of rage in his eyes," she said, recalling the night police were called.

Williams was assigned the third floor but kept getting calls from the nursing manager on the first floor to come and get McLeod -- who wanted to leave Parkview Place -- out of her office. The nurse manager told McLeod " 'Here is Heidi -- she will make you coffee and give you a sandwich,' " Williams recalled. She got McLeod a snack, showed him it was nighttime and time to sleep and took McLeod back to the ninth floor, where his room was located.

The third time Williams escorted McLeod away from the nursing manager and back to the ninth floor, he got upset and chased Williams into a lounge. She ran behind a table and he flipped it over. A health-care aide heard the ruckus, went to the lounge and said "Don't hurt her." McLeod went after the health-care aide.

"He picked up a bedside table and started using that as a weapon towards her," said Williams. The aide ran behind fire doors, held them closed and called 911 on her cellphone, Williams said. She picked up the phone and called a "code white," an emergency to which all available staff responded immediately. The police responded to the health-care aide's call for help within minutes, said Williams. McLeod responded calmly and sat down, said Williams. The inquest heard earlier McLeod calmly sat down after fatally pushing Alexander to the floor.

A few weeks after police were called, Williams was the night nurse assigned to the ninth floor. A health-care aide was washing her hands at the nursing station when McLeod went behind the aide and choked her with both hands. Williams intervened and went in front of the aide.

"(McLeod) grabbed my arm and he said 'Let's go to work,' " and directed her into an elevator. "I thought being calm and going with him was the best way." She said she was watching the elevator numbers when she felt a blow to the right side of her head, then a second blow.

Williams was asked why her notes about what happened at the time said McLeod smashed her face into the elevator buttons rather than punching her. Williams said she had suffered a brain injury.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2014 A5

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