Elderly veterans in Montreal hospital at serious risk due to incompetence and a complete disregard for patient safety during pandemic.
There are roughly 30,000 surviving World War 2 veterans in Canada right now with an average age of 94 years old, and with each passing year we lose them in ever greater numbers. It’s safe to say that the vast majority of them live in some kind of long-term care facility or hospital. At one time there were a number of veterans hospitals across the country, most built between the World Wars, but now there is only one left. Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Montreal is home to about 120 veterans including the esteemed World War 2 vet Wolf Wm Solkin, who is one of the last of the Dutch liberators.
Ste. Anne’s is now in the midst of a COVID outbreak that has affected a vast majority of the veterans who live there. They have been put in grave danger and sadly it comes as no surprise. Back in March Wolf was speaking out about this, warning that something like this would happen. Sadly, nobody that mattered listened.
The elder statesman of veterans advocacy has nothing but praise for the frontline workers at Ste. Anne’s for their dedication and devotion. From the medical staff to the those that help to keep the hospital running, Solkin has no issue with any of these people who work tirelessly in often trying conditions and circumstances. These are the people who have been the heroes not only in Ste. Anne’s but in fhospitals and medical facilities across Canada.
Solkin’s issue is with the incompetent government bureaucracies at work in Ottawa and Quebec City. Things had been relatively good when control of the hospital was in the care of Veterans Affairs Canada and the federal government. In 2012 an agreement was made between the federal government and the province of Quebec to transfer responsibility of the facility over to provincial authority.
Since then the level of care these patients recieve has deteriorated despite the best efforts of the staff. When the Quebec government became their new employer it imposed a new collective agreement on the unionized staff which effectively cut their salaries in half. Prior to the transfer 1,000 people worked at Ste. Anne’s. On the day of the transfer 40% of them left and another 20% would leave in the year that followed. Hospital administrators, anticipating that only 25% would leave, were left unprepared and have since been trying to fill the large number of vacancies.
Solkin went on to file a class action lawsuit against the federal and Quebec governments as well as the agency responsible for operating Ste. Anne’s, and in February of this year a Quebec Superior Court judge authorized it.
LTC and. TLC
I customarily expend what little energy I can still muster, to protest or attack transgressions against my fellow-Veterans at Ste. Anne’s Hospital, committed by the uncommitted, unthinking and unfeeling bureaucrats, who abjectly administer our facility from afar. At this time in our pandemic pandemonium, however, I feel it is incumbent upon me to laud to the skies the cadre of dedicated and devoted front-line health workers…..doctors, nurses, orderlies,technicians , cooks and cleaners alike….who, almost without exception, arrive at work daily, do their jobs diligently, and give of themselves unstintingly to their charges, under the most challenging of circumstances, and despite the most disconnected of their “superiors”.
Theirs is an excellent example of the confluence of Long Term Care [LTC] and Tender Loving Care [TLC]! and, through the persistent pain and festering fog of my every fibre, I offer up to them my most heartfelt gratitude, with every breath I take. You paragons of patience and compassion , as overworked,and underpaid as you may be, are as much real heroes as some of my comrades here, and you truly validate my contention that…….OLD VETS MATTER !Wolf Wm Solkin
It is absolutely outrageous that this has been allowed to happen. At least 19 veterans have been sickened by COVID19, all of them at high risk of death due to their ages. There are some out there that don’t particularly care if those over the age of 65 succumb to the virus, they were old anyway. This seems to be the attitude of those left in charge of the care of the patients of Ste. Anne’s hospital.
Aside from basic human dignity these men are owed a modicum of gratitude and respect for their often heroic service to this country. Take the time to let them know you care. Contact the federal and Quebec governments and tell them to take action now. If there should be any fatalities at Ste. Anne’s they will be on the heads of the incompetent bureaucracies charged with their care, and the politicians that made it happen.
Call the Deputy Minister for Veterans Affairs Canada, Gen.(ret.) Walter Natynczyk at 902-566-8666, and tell him that this is unacceptable.