February 4, 2022 – The latest developments in the dual apprehensions of Eileen Wicks and her husband Trevor Wicks from their home in Qualicum Beach, B.C. by four RCMP officers and two Island Health workers on January 12, 2022 — already a murky story — have taken a bizarre and alarming turn. Eileen Wicks remains in a locked ward at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) on Vancouver Island.
On Sunday, January 30, 2022, reports Trevor Wicks, a document was delivered to the Wicks’ home. The document, a one-page form with handwritten notes, was issued by Island Health and addressed to Eileen Wicks, “to inform” her that she was to be “remove[d]… from the premises and convey[ed] to a safe place.” The only other information written on the form states “Eileen will be taken to NRGH. This will be reviewed within 5 days.” Wicks reports that this was the first and only document he received pertaining to his wife Eileen’s apprehension and detention at NRGH two and a half weeks before.
The form is dated January 12, 2022 (the date of the apprehensions) and signed by social worker Sarah Jarvinen. Wicks says he was never given a copy of this form before, and, “I don’t know who this person is.” The form is entitled Notification of Action under Section 59 of the Adult Guardianship Act.
In multiple interviews Second Opinion QB conducted with Trevor Wicks over the past two weeks, he says that the only other information he has received since he and Eileen were both apprehended and forcibly removed from their home without warning was scant verbal comments from doctors and hospital staff, until a few days ago when the already tense situation became even more bizarre and alarming.
It is apparent to friends and colleagues that Mr. Wicks remains in shock from the aggressive tactics by four RCMP officers, roughly hand-cuffed, transported almost an hour away by squad car and taken into the public waiting area at Comox Valley Hospital, still in handcuffs, a story Second Opinion QB broke on January 21, 2022. However, what weighs most heavily on Wicks’ mind, then and now, is the continuing harm that he believes his wife is suffering at the hands of these authorities. “I have been asking [the staff at] the hospital why Eileen is not being discharged yet, but they won’t tell me,” says Wicks, exasperated.
Nanaimo Regional General Hospital apparently permitted no one to visit Eileen Wicks during the first three days of her detention on a locked ward on the 4th floor of the hospital.
Finally, on Saturday, January 15, the hospital allowed the Wicks’ daughter Sharon to visit her mother. Wicks reports that his daughter told him that a doctor came into the room while she was visiting her mother. Apparently, the doctor told mother and daughter that there was no reason to keep Eileen any longer but that “there was some information missing from the file” that prevented her release until Monday [January 17] when certain required staff would be back at work, so they’d have to wait until then to discharge her.
Eileen was not discharged on Monday, January 17, apparently because of another staffing hiccup.
Wicks says, “first they said Eileen would be discharged in a day, then they told Sharon that it would be just another day or two until Parksville social workers approved it. She said that the hospital couldn’t make the decision to discharge Eileen, that it was up to social workers in Parksville.” Finally, four days after Eileen was apprehended, Trevor Wicks was allowed to visit with Eileen, but only inside the hospital because Eileen was apparently not allowed outside, not even for a walk around the grounds to get some fresh air and exercise. Wicks tried to keep things light, and joked that “they could send us out with a guard watching, if they liked,” but the ban on going outside remains in place.
In an effort to get public support, Trevor Wicks took to Facebook to ask the public to help bring Eileen home. As he and Eileen were saying goodbye after one visit, Trevor took a short video of Eileen expressing her desire to get out of NRGH and return home with Trevor. Several days later, after Wicks had posted the video to YouTube, NRGH told him that he couldn’t visit Eileen anymore because of Covid, that the only person who could visit Eileen was their daughter Sharon. No explanation was provided to Mr. Wicks for this change in visiting policy or why his daughter could visit Eileen, but he could not. Desperate to keep contact with his wife of many decades, Trevor Wicks arranged to speak with Eileen each day by phone instead. During one phone call with Eileen, the staff took the phone away from Eileen and told Mr. Wicks that she was too distressed to speak.
WATCH VIDEO of Eileen Wicks speaking from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital asking to be discharged, January 26, 2020.
The prospect of having Eileen discharged was still being dangled. Sometimes it was suggested she should be placed in a nursing home, other times the option of returning home seemed to be in play. Trevor Wicks prepared a formal home care plan so that authorities could be assured that he has taken appropriate steps to care for his wife Eileen.
One of the elements of a home care plan is to identify people who would be able to provide occasional respite for Trevor and visit with Eileen. “I asked my granddaughter, if she would be willing to spend an occasional hour or two with her grandmother when she returns home. She said she was too busy! How do you like that?” said Wicks, a mixture of anger, hurt, and astonishment playing across his face.
According to copies of the couple’s enduring Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement documents provided to Second Opinion QB, only Mr. Wicks has legal authority to make decisions on behalf of his wife Eileen. Their daughter Sharon is an alternate who can act — if, and only if — the principal Attorney or Representative is unable to act, which is not the case here. Trevor Wicks is both willing and able to fulfill his roles as the Attorney and Representative for his wife Eileen.
Three days after the apprehensions of her parents, and in preparation for her first visit with her mother at the hospital, Sharon came to her parents’ home and took her father’s copy of the legal documents. She told him that she needed to have these documents for the hospital visit. Their daughter was also given a document by the hospital a few days later says her father, while they were both visiting the hospital together. Wicks said that a few days later, “I asked Sharon to give me a copy of any documents that the hospital had given her [about why Eileen is being detained], but she is refusing,” Wicks told Second Opinion QB. “I have been asking her for days, but she won’t do it. We need to see these documents.” In desperation and growing alarm — and clearly exasperated by an apparent wall of obfuscation from the hospital, and now their daughter — Mr. Wicks took steps to get the records.
On Saturday, January 29, Trevor Wicks sent a formal request under the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to obtain his wife Eileen’s records from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and from Island Health.
On Sunday January 30, Trevor Wicks sent a signed Request for Patient Discharge form to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, asking that Eileen be discharged into his care the next day, January 31, 2022. NRGH refused Mr. Wicks’ request, and instead offered to give Eileen a phone to use in her room, apparently to make it easier for the couple to speak to each other since he is no longer permitted to visit her.
On Tuesday, February 1st, Trevor Wicks received the following email message from Island Health:
Dear Mr. Wicks,
I am writing this letter to acknowledge emails that you have sent to front-line clinicians (Social workers or nurses) who have been involved in the care of your wife, Eileen Wicks. Mr. Wicks, I understand that this is a difficult time for you. As has been discussed with you, due to saftety concerns for Eileen, your daughter Sharon has been appointed as the Temporary Substitute Decision Maker for her care. I am aware that you have been reaching out to various care team members with requests and concerns. Please know that to ensure coordinated care, the care teams will be communicating with Sharon, and will not be responding to emails, letters or phone calls from you, and will be forwarding these as appropriate. Please be assured that your concerns will be triaged and re-directed appropriately. If you have complaints or concerns about the care planning process, please feel free to email me directly at Joanna.Salken@islandhealth.ca Sincerely, Joanna Salken, Director, Community Health Services, Nanaimo/Oceanside Health Centre, Island Health.
Trevor Wicks replied to Joanna Salken’s email the same day, Tuesday, February 1st, stating:
Dear Ms. Salken,
Thank you for the email just received. Eileen Wicks and myself have… not … designated Sharon to make decisions for Eileen’s care. As legal Power of Attorney and Legal Representative (section 9), for each other, we do not consider Sharon as our representative. We have only seen Sharon for a few hours in the past year, and feel that her judgement has been influenced by others without our input. Please advise me in writing the reasons, and the names of the individuals that have made arbitrary decisions on our behalf. Also, why Eileen and I have been excluded from any of the process relating to Eileen’s Care… I have tried to contact Sharon, but she is too busy to talk.
Yet, oddly, Mr. Wicks has received no formal documentation from anyone at Island Health or Nanaimo Regional General Hospital to confirm Ms. Salken’s claim that someone, somewhere, at some point in time, for some unstated reason, has declared the Wicks’ daughter Sharon to be the “Temporary Substitute Decision Maker” for Eileen Wicks. [For a primer on B.C.’s byzantine and opaque laws that enable authorities to make such life-altering decisions arbitrarily, see our Explainer in this issue of Second Opinion QB, B.C. laws – what your need to know to protect yourself & your assets.]
According to Trevor Wicks, and confirmed by records he obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Comox Valley Hospital, on January 12, 2022 he received a clean bill of mental health from two doctors, including psychiatrist Kevin Whitter, showing no red flags whatsoever regarding Mr. Wicks’ history, conduct or capabilities. Island Health, which operates the hospitals in both Nanaimo and Comox would, almost certainly, be aware of this, and so should Nanaimo Regional General Hospital as well.
B.C. government and BCCLA provide no protection for Eileen or Trevor Wicks
As was noted in our previous article, RCMP squad enters QB condo without legal authority, apprehends couple in their 70s, the author is a former elder rights advocate with a decade of experience protecting seniors and their families across Canada from healthcare and government abuse. After learning about the Wicks’ story and confirming some key facts, we reached out to several government oversight authorities and a B.C. civil rights organization with our concerns that criminal acts may have been committed against Eileen and Trevor Wicks.
On January 24, 2022, we sent a letter asking for an investigation to the B.C. Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, to the Hon. David Eby, B.C. Attorney General, and to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. To date, only the B.C. Seniors Advocate Office has responded.
The B.C. Seniors Advocate Office opened a file and appeared to indicate that an investigation was proceeding, but ultimately, the only assistance provided to Mr. Wicks was to suggest he contact seniors support agencies or submit a complaint to one of the province’s healthcare oversight bodies. When he contacted the recommended agencies, he found they were of no practical help. The other advice Mr. Wicks received from the B.C. Seniors Advocate office was that he could file a complaint with Island Health’s own internal Patient Care Quality Office. Wicks felt that escalating complaints to either that office or the provincial Patient Care Quality Review Board (PCQRB) would not address this urgent matter. Trevor Wicks wants his wife back home before her health deteriorates further as a result of her detention in hospital and isolation from her husband and home.
The situation remains in a state of flux and confusion, causing ongoing stress and emotional harm to both Eileen and Trevor Wicks. Mr. Wicks says that Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is still not permitting him to visit his wife. Second Opinion QB will continue to follow this story.
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For further insight into how these cases arise, and their impact, READ the article below, Forced Assistance.
Similar apprehensions by authorities and other players in healthcare and legal fields are occurring not only across Canada, but in the United States as well. Rachel M. Cohen documents some of these cases in Forced Assistance, a feature story published July 6, 2020 in The Intercept.
The author of this article is a former elder rights advocate, with a decade of experience protecting seniors and their families across Canada from healthcare and government abuse.