Care advocate ramps up allegations of abuse

  • Mar. 14, 2011 8:00 a.m.

BOB CROSBY has been picketing Mills Memorial Hospital

A MAN caring for a physically disabled person says he’s filed complaints of abuse with the governing bodies for physicians and registered nurses.

Robert Crosby said the complaints to the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons and to the College of Registered Nurses of BC became necessary after being unsatisfied with the response by the Northern Health Authority to an incident involving Marvin Brown. Crosby said Brown was held down and blood taken from him by a physician and a nurse without his consent last fall in the emergency room at Mills Memorial Hospital.

“When someone says ‘no’ that should be the end of it. You walk away,” said Crosby.

He said Brown, who is wheelchair bound, said ‘no’ several times to the doctor and nurse on duty.

There had been difficulty getting the blood sample, and Brown, who has complex medical conditions, had said he did not want to continue trying.

Crosby said Brown has a right to refuse care and was exercising that right. “No means no; it doesn’t mean maybe,” he said.

Crosby, a former nurse who has been taking care of Brown for the last six years, said that Brown has been having nightmares since the incident happened last October and only lately became comfortable enough to speak about the incident.

He also said Brown has refused to go back to the hospital, choosing to travel to Prince George for service instead.

“They would not have done that to a child,” Crosby said. “So why would they do that to a disabled adult?”

Crosby began pursing his complaint in February and began picketing the hospital earlier this month. Crosby said an RCMP officer was scheduled to visit Brown and Crosby yesterday after he made a complaint that holding a person down to take blood constituted an assault.

Eryn Collins from the Northern Health Authority said the allegations were examined thoroughly.

“We have looked into Mr. Crosby’s concerns and Northern Health is satisfied that the level of care provided to Mr. Brown was appropriate,” she said.

Collins did acknowledge that a review of the situation did not include speaking with Brown to get his version of events.

“The concerns in this situation where not brought forward by a patient, they were brought forward by a third party,” said Collins. She said the authority also has to respect privacy.

She was unable to state why the health authority did not speak with Brown.

Crosby now says he’d be reluctant to have authority officials speak with Brown without him being there to act as an advocate. “You speak to him, not over him,” said Crosby. “Just because a person is physically disabled, it does not mean he is mentally challenged. He’s quite capable of speaking.”

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