Four years ago today they tragically lost four of their own, and mefloquine is the likely reason.
It is now four years since the Desmond family of Antigonish, Nova Scotia experienced the tragic and horrific loss of four beloved family members. Four years since the Desmonds lost their mother, Brenda, their sister-in-law, Shanna, their niece, Aaliyah, and their brother, Lionel.
I will not dwell on the details of what happened to them on that horrible day, rather I will address what I believe to be the reason for this incomprehensible tragedy, namely the antimalarial drug mefloquine, which he was seen taking during his tour in Afghanistan in 2007. I was contacted early last year by somebody who was with Lionel in Afghanistan, and he told me the he witnessed Lionel taking the neurotoxic drug that also goes by the brand name Lariam.
Former soldier with PTSD who killed himself and his family were victims of ‘systemic failures’: witness
Lionel was misdiagnosed. Although he may have been suffering from PTSD at the time he died, the result of his service in Asia, it is also entirely certain that he had been adversely affected by the mefloquine he had been given, and the symptoms that he had been showing are consistent with that. He and his family were not only failed by the government after he got home from Afghanistan, but they were also lied to about what was really wrong with him. Had Lionel Desmond been given the correct information and access to the proper resources that he needed, he and his family might still be alive today.
Lionel Desmond inquiry aims for mid-February resumption, barring technical delays
The Desmond Inquiry is scheduled to reconvene again in February, and whether evidence about mefloquine will be allowed to be introduced remains to be seen. In any event, such evidence wouldn’t have much of an effect on the outcome of the Inquiry given its scope. There will need to be another much larger investigation undertaken to look into this matter completely, something along the lines of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, though this is unlikely to occur barring growing public pressure.
The Desmond family, and all Canadians, deserve and have the right to know the truth. Lionel Desmond’s brain was damaged by a drug the Government of Canada knew to be neurotoxic, yet still ordered him to take under penalty of military justice. They lied to and misled him and thousands of other Canadian Forces personnel, resulting in the deaths of four people four years ago. Lives cut tragically and unimaginably short.
I therefore call on the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to address this and the other issues affecting Canadian veterans and their families on a daily basis, and I am asking other Canadians to do the same.
May almighty God hold Brenda, Lionel, Shanna, and Aaliyah in his bosom, and may they all rest in peace.
Years of neglect and mismanagement have led to a crisis in veteran’s services, impacting the mental health of veterans and the front line government employees dealing with them.
There is a crisis in this country that isn’t being covered by any of the media, and sadly it’s probably because this crisis is happening by and large within the veteran community. There is a major problem with the way the government delivers services to our vets right now and it is having a significant impact on the well-being and mental health of thousands of them across the country. It has also negatively impacted the mental health of some of the front-line government employees who deal with veterans on a daily basis.
I’m going to dig deep in order to find out how and why things have reached the point that they have. I will be interviewing veterans as well as current and former VAC employees, and mental health advocates. I will be gathering information from VAC through their published reports and by using ATIP requests, and I am also contacting many of the largest police agencies across Canada for information and input.
Any articles I publish about this will use the hashtag #canadaveteranservicecrisis. I would ask that you please use this hashtag on Twitter and other social media to get it trending.
If you are one of the following, I would like to hear from you:
any veteran who has had a wellness check done by police no matter the outcome
any current or former VAC employees particularly Case Managers and Veteran Service Agents
Information shared with me will be treated as confidential and not shared with anyone without prior approval.
My secure and encrypted email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to hear from you about the job you did, why you left VAC, or anything else that you would like to discuss for a story I am currently working on. I will not be publishing anything specific that may reveal your identity and everything you say will be held in the strictest of confidence.
I am not soliciting any current VAC employees however if one should happen to send an email my way I wouldn’t delete it, but please do not send it via a VAC computer using your credentials. For an added layer of security I recommend getting a Protonmail account and using that to send confidential or sensitive emails.
I also use WhatsApp and Signal for phone communications should you want to communicate that way.
You can send an email to my encrypted Protonmail account email@example.com
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.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are all human beings.
Last month I started working on a new project investigating veterans mental health issues and how they are currently being addressed and handled. I began gathering information for the story, including hearing from veterans who had experienced negative encounters with law enforcement resulting from a wellness or welfare check. While I had prepared myself for the emotional roller coaster that things like this can be I hadn’t anticipated it having such a profound effect on me so early on in the process. I foolishly didn’t consider the possibility that this might be a trigger for me.
Over the course of the years that my brother was alive I had to make the difficult choice on a few occasions to call 911 because I feared for my brother’s health and safety. One of these incidents happened a little over a decade ago, when he came knocking on my door one night shortly after I had gone to bed. I had to get up for work in the morning. I knew that something was wrong as soon as I opened the door. It was an unannounced visit and he appeared to be somewhat distressed. As he walked inside he told me that he had yet another fight with his girlfriend and that she had kicked him out, leading to him swallowing a large quantity of Gravol tablets. The instant he told me that my imediate instinct was to call 911 to have EMS take hom to the hospital, but I also knew that members of the Calgary Police Service would also be attending the call.
Naturally he was pissed off at me for having done that, but at the time I thought it was the right thing to do. I still do. It was a constable from the Calgary Police Service that first arrived at the door. A few minutes later he was joined by another couple of CPS members followed very shortly thereafter by EMS, who would take him out to the waiting ambulance to pump his stomach before leaving for the hospital. Ryan was always cooperative with the police whenever he ecountered them, prefering to remain calm and somewhat agreeable rather than get agitated and mouthy (or violent). One of the constables had engaged in a conversation with my brother, I’m not sure what it was about but when it came to my brother it was probably something about himself.
When I was asked if I would be going to the hospital with my brother I of course said yes. I had put him into the situation that he had found himself in so the least I could do was keep him company. I wasn’t able to ride in the ambulance with Ryan and would be getting a ride with the first constable that showed up that night. I shifted myself over to the middle of the back seat of the cruiser so that I could clearly see the back of the ambulance which was parked directly in front it. The doors were open and I could see that my brother talking to someone casually, probably one of the EMT’s. The black smudges of activated charcoal on his face told me that they had already pumped his stomach though he appeared to be having a pleasant enough conversation despite this. After less than a minute the doors closed and I settled back to wait for the ride to the hospital thankful for having these cops show up. They talked with my brother and were treating him with dignity and compassion. From where I was sitting I could also clearly see the computer that they used to communicate with dispatch and other units, the screen facing me enough to read the entire thing clearly. As we waited to leave for the hospital a message appeared on the screen that I couldn’t believe I was reading at first. It would leave me feeling disillusioned, stunned, gutted, and perhaps even a little bit heartbroken.
You owe me a coffee at break for dealing with this idiot.
I sat there trying to understand what it was that I was seeing. Was this message intended for the constable in this car? Who is this idiot? I simply couldn’t comprehend that the people who only moments before had performed so well, who were the “heroes”, had turned out to be nothing but assholes, at least one of them was anyway. I got my answer when the constable noticed that I was able to read the screen and quickly turned it away, though I did manage to see that he told the sender of the message to hold off on communicating via that method. That told me then everything I needed to know. It was all a facade, they really thought that my brother was some kind of a joke, an idiot. It was a quiet ride to the hospital and I suspect the driver was quite aware that I had seen what had been written on his screen.
It took everything I had to keep the tears at bay, the bitter tears of heartbreak mixed with the hot tears of anger and rage. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would say something to the constable when we arrived at the hospital, or perhaps dig into my pockets to throw whatever loose change I had at him. “Here, buy your partner a fucking cup of coffee for having to put up with such an idiot. Sorry you had to put up with my brother the mental midget, asshole. Next time I’ll be sure to save myself the humiliation and just let him fucking die, how about that?”
I never told a soul about this until recently. I wasn’t about to tell my brother or my mother about what was said, it would serve no purpose other than to hurt them, and it was simply too humiliating for me to tell anyone else. I then buried it deep inside the vault hoping that someday I might forget about it, which I had managed to do for quite a while. When I began working on my newest project the memory came flooding back, and whenever I thought about it I would start to cry, unable to hold the emotions at bay no matter how much I tried.
I would need to get past this in order to move on with things so I began to reach out, and started to talk about it with my inner circle. I knew that I would be writing about this as part of the process, so I sat and had a rather difficult talk with my mom. I could tell by the look in her eyes and the fact she lit a cigarette as I was talking that she had been hurt and disappointed, and it was hard for me to see that even though I knew damn well that they would be there. We talked about it for some time. At the time he passed away my brother was before the courts, and it was a matter of stress for all of us. My mom told me that there was one cop who really supported Ryan, spending hours talking with him and even appearing in court on my brother’s behalf on his day off. This is someone who went the extra mile for my brother and if I knew who he was I would definitely buy him a coffee for showing genuine compassion and humanity for my brother in his time of greatest need.
We both also realize that police have a very difficult job sometimes and that some people may deal with things in a flippant or seemingly uncaring manner. For the most part this is not being done intentionally, it’s simply a way of coping with the things that they see on a daily basis. Sometimes in order to make sure that they do not get hurt emotionally, people will use humor or some other means of coping with certain situations. Sometimes they don’t even realize that they are doing it. To be fair the constable who made the remark had no idea that I was able to read it, and was letting off some steam with his colleagues. Looking back through the years I know that I have been guilty of this myself, making light of something and completely losing sight of the fact that it was happening to another human being who deserved the same dignity as I.
There are a few lessons to be learned from this experience. First, for law enforcement or anyone who deals with the mentally ill regularly, it is so important to remember that the mentally ill are humans too, just as worthy of your respect and compassion as anyone else. There is also a lesson in this for the citizens of society, to remember that first responders aren’t superhuman. We expect them to be there for us when times are at their very worst, to rescue us and be our heroes and lifesavers in moments of crisis. This takes an enormous toll on them both physically and psychologically, and we should be ever grateful to them for doing the things that they do for us. We also need to recognize that they are human beings as well, and remember to cut them a bit of slack every now and then.
Things are obviously far from perfect but they are quite capable of improving. Police need the resources to be able to deal with an ever increasing number of calls involving the mentally ill and they certainly do not need to be defunded. They need every bit of funding that they can get, along with advocacy groups for the mentally ill.
One day I’m going to buy a cop a cup of coffee to thank him or her for what they do. But I will also tell them about my brother and to remind them that every person, mentally ill or not, has a story and deserves to be treated woth dignity and respect. I would encourage everyone to do this. In a world gone mad, it can go a long way towards making things just a little bit better in our little corner of it.
Meanwhile Chief of Defense Forces Angus Campbell Is Praying That He Won’t Be Held To The Yamashita Standard.
The bad news is that the charges against Ausralian whistleblower David McBride have still not been dropped. The good news is that he has now surpassed $110,000 in donations to his legal defense fund, leaving him with less than $40,000 to go before reaching the $150,000 goal. I would ask anyone around the world who believes in fighting for the truth and protecting whistleblowers to please contribute towards the defense of a man who did his duty, and also did right by freedom loving people in Australia and around the world.
Link to David McBride’s GoFundMe page.
Why does Angus Campbell still have a job?
Skirmish between Defence Chief Angus Campbell and Prime Minister Scott Morrison over military decorations will leave permanent scar
When he entered the White House in 1945 Harry S. Truman put a small sign on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here”. Whatever decisions were undertaken by those beneath him, Truman took the final resonsibilty for those decisions whether he had made them or not. At the end of the day somebody has to be held accountable when things go wrong, whether in business, politics, or the military, and that person is the person at the very top.
As I discussed in a previous article, this actually applies in international law under the “Yamashita” standard, wherein a military commander can be held responsible for the actions of his subordinates despite not being aware of them or issuing them any illegal orders. By failing to discover that war crimes were happening and, by not acting to stop them, Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita was found guilty of war crimes committed by troops under his command and hanged in 1946.
The Brererton Inquiry released last month absolved senior military leadership of any responsibilty for the actions committed by some two dozen special operators in Afghanistan, choosing instead to strip the SAS of a unit citation and recommend a criminal investigation be launched against those few men.
NINE Aussie soldiers take their own lives as a war crimes scandal morphs into shambles, with top brass shielded & squaddies blamed
At the moment Chief of the Defense Forces, General Angus Campbell, is immune from the reach of Yamashita although technically the possibility does exist that someday he won’t be. However I think that the spirit of Yamashita should be applicable to every military and government, that the leaders are ultimately held responsible for the actions of their subordinates and have failed in their duty by not investigating the matter and taking steps to correct it. Instead Campbell and his masters in government go unpunished with their carers and pensions intact. Weanwhile David McBride remains wrongfully under charge and the government has done nothing to correct this travesty.
If these men had any honour at all they would have already resigned, committing political hara kiri. Instead they expect others to pay for their crimes proving once and for all that they are dishonourable cowards.
A quinizmussal küzdők egyik legnagyobb akadálya, hogy az orvosi közösségben jelenleg nincsenek ismeretek erről. A kvinizmusban szenvedők többsége azt tapasztalta, hogy háziorvosuk és más egészségügyi szakemberek vagy nem ismerik a témát, vagy szkeptikusak ezzel kapcsolatban. Valami, amire gyakran felmerül a kérdés, hogy „milyen információkkal szolgálhatok / adhatok a háziorvosomnak a kinizmusról?”
Linkek értékes cikkekhez
Felsoroltam néhány olyan folyóiratcikket, amelyet a betegek adhatnak orvosuknak, és értékes információkat nyújtanak számukra. Vagy másolhatja és beillesztheti az alábbi linkeket, hogy megadja nekik, vagy letöltheti és kinyomtathatja egy nyomtatott példányt, amelyet megad nekik.
Bár ezek az akadémiai cikkek angol nyelven íródtak, orvosának képesnek kell lennie azok elolvasására vagy arra, hogy könnyen lefordítsa őket.
Ezeket a cikkeket Dr. Remington Nevin, a Quinism Alapítvány írta.
A tüneti meflokin expozíció szűrése krónikus pszichiátriai tünetekkel rendelkező veteránok körében
Uno dei maggiori ostacoli che devono affrontare coloro che soffrono di chinismo è l’attuale mancanza di conoscenza a riguardo all’interno della comunità medica in generale. La maggior parte delle persone affette da chinismo ha scoperto che il proprio medico di famiglia e altri professionisti sanitari non conoscono l’argomento o sono scettici al riguardo. Qualcosa che viene chiesto frequentemente è “quali informazioni ci sono che posso / devo fornire al mio medico di famiglia sul chinismo?”
Collegamenti per articoli di valore
Ho elencato alcuni articoli di riviste che i pazienti possono fornire al proprio medico che fornirà loro preziose informazioni. Puoi copiare e incollare i link sottostanti per darli a loro o scaricare e stampare una copia cartacea da dare loro.
Sebbene questi articoli accademici siano scritti in inglese, il tuo medico dovrebbe essere in grado di leggerli o avere la capacità di tradurli facilmente.
Questi articoli sono stati scritti dal Dr. Remington Nevin della Quinism Foundation.
Screening per l’esposizione sintomatica alla meflochina tra i veterani con sintomi psichiatrici cronici
Links zu entsprechenden wissenschaftlichen Artikeln.
Eine der größten Hürden für Menschen mit Quinismus ist der derzeitige Mangel an Wissen darüber in der gesamten medizinischen Gemeinschaft. Die meisten Menschen mit Quinismus haben festgestellt, dass der Hausarzt und andere Angehörige der Gesundheitsberufe entweder keine Kenntnisse über das Thema haben oder skeptisch sind. Häufig wird gefragt: „Welche Informationen kann / sollte ich meinem Hausarzt über Quinismus geben?“
Links für wertvolle Artikel
Ich habe einige Zeitschriftenartikel aufgelistet, die Patienten ihrem Arzt geben können und die ihnen wertvolle Informationen liefern. Sie können entweder die folgenden Links kopieren und einfügen, um sie zu geben, oder eine Hardcopy herunterladen und ausdrucken, um sie ihnen zu geben.
Obwohl diese wissenschaftlichen Artikel in englischer Sprache verfasst sind, sollte Ihr Arzt sie lesen oder leicht übersetzen lassen können.
Diese Artikel wurden von Dr. Remington Nevin von der Quinism Foundation verfasst.
Screening auf symptomatische Mefloquin-Exposition bei Veteranen mit chronischen psychiatrischen Symptomen
Stellen Sie sicher, dass Sie diese Informationen mit allen teilen. Sollte ich auf weitere Informationen aufmerksam gemacht werden, die sich als hilfreich für Sie erweisen, werde ich Sie auf dem Laufenden halten.
L’un des plus grands obstacles auxquels sont confrontés les personnes atteintes de quinisme est le manque actuel de connaissances à ce sujet au sein de la communauté médicale en général. La plupart des personnes atteintes de quinisme ont constaté que leur médecin de famille et les autres professionnels de la santé ne connaissaient pas le sujet ou étaient sceptiques à ce sujet. Quelque chose qui est fréquemment demandé est «quelles informations puis-je / devrais fournir à mon médecin de famille sur le quinisme?»
Liens vers des articles précieux
J’ai énuméré quelques articles de journaux que les patients peuvent donner à leur professionnel de la santé qui leur fourniront des informations précieuses. Vous pouvez soit copier et coller les liens ci-dessous pour leur donner, soit télécharger et imprimer une copie papier pour leur donner.
Bien que ces articles académiques soient en anglais, votre médecin devrait être en mesure de les lire ou avoir la possibilité de les faire traduire facilement.
Ces articles ont été écrits par le Dr Remington Nevin de la Quinism Foundation.
Dépistage de l’exposition symptomatique à la méfloquine chez les vétérans présentant des symptômes psychiatriques chroniques