Letter to the Editor, printed in the Edmonton Journal
March 6, 2012
A sad case of neglect
Re: "Family's story reflects crisis in long-term care, Liberals say: Unconscious woman allegedly left lying in own feces," The Journal, March 2. When I read of the neglect of Audry Chudyk in long term care at the General Hospital, I felt sick. Then I got angry. That Audry was left untreated in a comatose state, lying in her own waste, with severe pneumonia, several spinal fractures, extremely low blood pressure, and infected bed sores, is almost beyond belief, especially in a ward staffed with two nurses and five attendants for 36 patients. When her family finally got her to hospital by ambulance, doctors also discovered that she had had "a cardiac incident." Now she lies near death in an intensive care unit. All because of neglect. If Audry Chudyk were a small child or puppy suffering from such neglect, surely criminal charges would be pending. Unfortunately, frail, disabled, or cognitively impaired seniors are not as cute as little kids or puppies, but they are just as helplessly dependent and just as deserving of our collective concern. Instead, the government contracts out their care, leaving our parents and grandparents to be warehoused in the most inhumane conditions, without comfort and without dignity. Both the government and its agent, Covenant Health, should feel ashamed, not of the extremely bad publicity that a case such as Audry's has elicited, but of the callous disregard for human beings at their most vulnerable. Chudyk's case and undoubtedly dozens of similar cases reflect a sick society where the bottom line has trumped compassion and decency. Lynda Somerville, Edmonton This letter to the editor was published in the Edmonton Journal on March 6, 2012. Read the full letter on the Edmonton Journal website.