The MAID death of a paralysed man from pressure sores results in a public inquiry being ordered

Quebec’s chief coroner has ordered a public inquiry into the medically assisted death of a paralyzed man after he suffered a serious bedsore during a hospital stay.

The decision announced Tuesday comes after Quebec’s public security minister demanded an investigation into the death of Normand Meunier.

The 66-year-old man was admitted to a hospital in Saint-Jérôme, just north of Montreal, last January. He was being treated for a respiratory illness.

During his stay in hospital, Meunier developed a large pressure ulcer on his buttocks. Moelle épinière et motricité Québec, a group that advocates for people with spinal cord injuries and improved mobility, said the painful exposed muscle around Meunier’s tailbone.

In late March, he received medical assistance in dying to end his suffering.

“It wasn’t his choice. He asked for medical assistance until death due to lack of choice and lack of care,” said Ariane Gauthier-Tremblay, a social worker at the advocacy group.

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“We want to make it very clear.”

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Meunier’s death sent shock waves through Quebec. Members of opposition parties called Meunier’s death a “real shame” for the province.

An internal investigation was launched by the local public health authority that oversees the hospital, but calls for a separate, independent probe grew. Health Minister Christian Dubé has also announced an investigation into Meunier’s death.

Meunier’s wife told Radio-Canada that she told hospital staff that Meunier needed a special mattress to prevent bedsores, but that he spent four days in the emergency room without a mattress.

Sylvie Brosseau spoke publicly about her husband’s death in May, saying she would continue to fight and that she did not want Meunier to die “in vain.”

“There are other people feeling very ill in hospitals right now,” Brosseau said at the time, adding that they should receive proper care.

Quebec Coroner Dave Kimpton will oversee the investigation, including public hearings with interested parties.

The inquiry will examine the circumstances surrounding Meunier’s case and make recommendations to prevent similar deaths. The dates have not yet been determined.

The decision to hold a public inquiry comes as a relief to both Meunier’s family and Moelle épinière et motricité Québec. Gauthier-Tremblay hopes this will help prevent similar situations.

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“We want physically disabled people to go to hospital with confidence and we want them to receive specific care that takes their spinal cord injuries into account. We want them to be safe and healed when they go to the hospital,” Gauthier-Tremblay said.

The regional health authority responsible for the hospital confirmed it is still conducting its own investigation and will cooperate with the coroner’s investigation.

with files from Felicia Parrillo of Global and The Canadian Press

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Kalina Laframboise

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