February 28, 2022 | Updated March 02 – Eileen Wicks remains in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, detained against her wishes and the wishes of her husband and legal Representative Trevor Wicks, since the couple was apprehended by police at their Qualicum Beach, BC home on January 12, 2022. Trevor Wicks was released the same day as the apprehensions. Mr. Wicks continues to press for Eileen’s discharge, and recently engaged a lawyer to help free Eileen. This terrifying experience is one that many families on Vancouver Island have faced.
LINKS to previous stories here: RCMP squad enters BC condo without legal authority, apprehends couple in their 70s
Island Health is now at least engaging Trevor Wicks in his recognized “capacity as Eileen’s Representative and substitute decision maker,” according to Lorraine Kirk, manager of Nanaimo Community Health Services for Island Health, but is still refusing to respect any of Mr. Wicks’ directives.
During a meeting called by Ms. Kirk on Thursday, February 24 at Nanaimo Hospital, attended by this writer and another observer, Ms. Kirk told Mr. Wicks that Island Health could not provide any documentation or information to confirm who made the decisions to abduct and detain his wife Eileen on January 12, 2022, why she is still being detained at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, and why the hospital is refusing Trevor Wicks’ directive that the hospital discharge Eileen immediately.
Ms. Kirk said that the B.C. Adult Guardianship Act prevents Island Health from revealing this information to anyone. Ms. Kirk claimed, without providing any proof, that Trevor and Eileen Wicks had a “murder suicide pact” — which Mr. Wicks vehemently denies, and which a recent psychiatrist’s assessment also denies — and that these measures are necessary to protect Eileen. In a surprise development, Island Health says that Eileen’s condition has worsened significantly during her detention to the point, they claim, that she must be institutionalized. Trevor Wicks disputes this claim.
Abduction of a 92-year-old woman under false pretenses by a Victoria, BC hospital
The Wicks’ case is not the first time that Vancouver Island seniors have been apprehended from their homes by a squad of police officers and Island Health employees to subsequently be detained — unnecessarily — in hospitals and long-term care facilities for weeks or months and, in some cases, for years.
A 92-year-old woman living with her daughter in Victoria, BC was unlawfully apprehended under false pretenses by a squad of police officers and social workers who entered her home without warning in October 2017. Patrizia Abel was subsequently detained by Royal Jubilee Hospital for over a month without legal authority, despite the objections of her daughter and caregiver, Janet Drew, who is also her mother’s legal Representative.
A letter sent by Janet Drew’s lawyer to the lawyers acting for Royal Jubilee Hospital and Island Health reveals unsubstantiated allegations made by health care providers (later acknowledged to have been false), that are similar in their inflammatory nature and hysterical tone to the allegations made by Island Health against Trevor Wicks that he was planning a “murder-suicide” with his wife Eileen.
In his letter, the daughter’s lawyer states that Island Health’s records “are rife with inaccuracies and untruths.”
“Unequivocally, there are no vicious dogs in the home and no dogs have ever attacked Mrs. Patrizia Abel. The ‘concerns’ voiced by Dr. Maskey… are unfounded. You have never provided any proof that Janet Drew has at any time abused her mother verbally, emotionally, physically and financially… On at least two occasions (including the fall that resulted in Patrizia’s hospital admission on this occasion), Patrizia experienced falls that required ambulance attendance, while under the care of Beacon Community Services workers while Janet Drew was not at home.”
The lawyer’s letter states that Royal Jubilee Hospital was holding Patrizia Abel “without statutory jurisdiction, unlawfully confining Mrs. Abel since on or about October 16, 2017… confining her against her wishes and the wishes of her two daughters.” Patrizia Abel had appointed her two daughters to act, jointly, as her legal Representatives (aka substitute decision makers for medical treatment and personal care).
“On behalf of Patrizia Abel’s two daughters, I am able to state that they hold the hospital, and, in particular, her chief treating physicians at the hospital, Dr. Maskey, Dr. Bader, Dr. Ming, Dr. Hall, and others, liable for her unlawful confinement at the hospital,” writes the family’s lawyer.
The lawyer’s letter concludes with a demand that Patrizia Abel be discharged into the care of her daughters “in order that they may take her home and provide her with the care at home that Mrs. Abel desires.” Patrizia was discharged the next day to resume her life as desired, in her own home and under the care of her daughter. [The names of Island Health’s victims in the above excerpts were changed to protect the family members’ privacy. — Editor]
Island Health forcing people into long-term care when not needed or wanted
During this family’s ordeal, Island Health social workers at Royal Jubilee Hospital tried to force Patrizia Abel, who also has dementia, into long-term care, despite the fact that she already had a safe, loving and comfortable home, and ignoring the objections from her daughter and legal Representative, and Patrizia’s wishes.
Recently, social workers at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital began a similar campaign to “place” Eileen Wicks in long-term care, not because she needs care, but apparently because Island Health social workers believe that Trevor Wicks presents a dangerous threat to his wife Eileen, an assertion disputed by Mr. Wicks, and by the psychiatrist who assessed Mr. Wicks on the day he and Eileen were apprehended by a squad of police officers and social workers.
The forced psychiatric assessment of Trevor Wicks on January 12, 2022 includes the following excerpts from the evaluation conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Kevin Whetter:
“Casually dressed, well-groomed 75-year-old man, who moved easily and appearing in good health. Slight English accent. Good eye contact. Speech normal rate and volume. No thought disorder. Affect seemed euthymic and appropriate. Some frustration about events of the day, but managing this well. Affect was certainly not depressed. No thought disorder. Reported a longstanding plan that he and his wife had had to end their lives when functioning and decreased quality of life, dictated that no specific present idea of ending his life at any particular time. Mainly concerned about his wife’s wellbeing. Similarly, no plans to end her life at this time. No evidence of psychosis. Insight and judgment seemed reasonable. No evidence of acute psychiatric illness, either depression, dementia or other.
A 75-year-old man with a long-stated intent with his wife’s advancing dementia that when things become too difficult, they may choose to end their lives together. He does not feel they are at this point at present, nor is it clear to me there would any reason to intervene if they were, with this being their stated intent, shared with family and physician. — Kevin Murray Whetter, physician 12-Jan-2022“
During the first few days of Eileen Wicks’ detention in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Trevor Wicks was told that the doctors and staff saw no reason Eileen couldn’t be discharged virtually immediately. Initially, a doctor at NRGH said that the file was missing some information, and that Eileen would be discharged on the Monday after apprehension when key staff would be back at work. Eileen wasn’t discharged on the following Monday and, the next day, another excuse was given why she wasn’t discharged, then another and another.
A few weeks ago, hospital social workers suggested to Trevor Wicks that Eileen should be placed in long-term care “because this [the hospital] is not a good place for her.” Trevor Wicks was astounded. “How can they do that? Just take her from me and our home, and put her in long term care, what she’s always said she never wanted!” he says.
Trevor Wicks has resisted efforts by Island Health to force him to agree to put Eileen in long-term care. He continues to insist that his legal authority as Eileen’s Representative to make medical and personal care decisions on behalf of Eileen be respected, and that she be discharged into his care immediately. Island Health continues to ignore Trevor Wicks’ directives.
The meeting with Island Health at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Feb 24, billed as an opportunity for Mr. Wicks to provide direction and input into a “Support and Assistance Plan” turned out to be more of an incarceration plan designed to permanently separate the couple.
Lorraine Kirk began the meeting with a blunt, “Eileen is not coming home.” She then proceeded to read aloud the terms of Island Health’s Plan, which Trevor Wicks had never seen before, in a rapid staccato voice… put Eileen in long-term care, Eileen agrees with the Plan, she appreciated being asked, Trevor will not be allowed to take Eileen out unsupervised, Eileen is not asking to go home, Eileen will not be permitted any staff that are funded or hired by Trevor, …
Ms. Kirk then told Trevor Wicks that he was still Eileen’s Representation and substitute decision maker but that Eileen had consented. In an unfathomable twist, Ms. Kirk said to Mr. Wicks, “Of course, Eileen is incapable of consenting because she has moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s, so you are the ultimate decision maker. We know this isn’t what you want, but it will be better for her to be in long-term care, and you can still continue the fight. Otherwise, Island Health will commence legal action. Do you agree to sign this Plan?” Trevor Wicks ended the meeting without replying.
As the meeting participants were leaving, Ms. Kirk called out a demand that Mr. Wicks stop allowing the names of Island Health staff to be published.
For some people with dementia, it can be necessary, and perhaps sometimes even beneficial, to spend their remaining years in an institution. Some elders and people with disabilities make the decision themselves to move into institutional living. Long-term care can be a solution for families that do not have the capacity to care for their elder or disabled family members at home, while some families have little or no interest in caring for parents, leaving their elder family member with no other option.
However, many families express doubts and concerns about their decision to put their elder family members in long-term care, and regret the decision. Some families have removed their elder family members from institutional care, a task made more difficult, and some say “obstructed,” by the health professionals in BC’s public health system and government bureaucrats who wield enormous power over these situations and over the lives of elders and their families.
Friends of Eileen and Trevor Wicks have launched a petition to be sent to the authorities responsible for the apprehension and detention of Eileen Wicks at: Change.org/FreeEileenWicks.
Another Vancouver Island woman who eventually freed her mother from a long-term care home regrets she did not take bolder action when she first began having doubts about Island Health (aka VIHA). “I would never have been so accommodating, if I had known what a ‘gangster show’ it is,” she said, referring to the aggressive, neglectful and abusive actions that caused her to fight to bring her mother home.
This past Saturday, February 26, 2022 was a classic early spring day, with wind and rain interspersed with streaks of sunshine, the air nippy. Inside the hospital, Trevor was visiting Eileen. He had brought his karaoke machine, which he often does, and the couple were happily singing together in her room when all of a sudden, the door burst open, and a staff member loudly accused Trevor of having taken Eileen outside for a walk around the hospital grounds the day before, “violating a VIHA [Island Health] order.”
Trevor and Eileen were told that a supervisor had determined this from video surveillance. Trevor was told to leave immediately, and that security had already been called. Trevor said he had not been in Nanaimo the day before, and that the only day in the six weeks of Eileen’s detention that Trevor has been outside with Eileen was one day weeks ago when the couple were accompanied by their daughter and granddaughter, an unwelcome condition that Island Health has imposed on Trevor Wicks’ visits with his wife. Faced with that rebuttal, the staff backed off. Thoroughly shaken, Eileen and Trevor managed to resume singing along to karaoke music and dancing. Just another false allegation by Island Health.
One wonders, says Trevor Wicks, if he is such a dangerous person, why hasn’t he been charged with any crime or even a misdemeanour? One also wonders why such egregious and malicious abuse of power by police and health authorities against law-abiding citizens is allowed to continue without sanction by the British Columbia government. Gangster show, indeed.
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Feb 04, 2022: Apprehensions of Eileen & Trevor Wicks become murkier