June 9, 2022 – In our continuing coverage of the January 12, 2022 apprehensions of Trevor and Eileen Wicks, and Eileen’s forced detention in hospital, we present examples of similar efforts by health authorities to ignore the rights of patients and families, suppress information and favour staff privacy over the wellbeing of vulnerable people.
The people victimized include children, middle-aged adults and elders in cases involving four British Columbia health authorities: Vancouver Coastal Health, Interior Health, Fraser Health and, in the Wicks’ case, Island Health. But first, an update about the Wicks’ latest experiences.
Almost six months into Eileen Wicks’ involuntary confinement at Nanaimo hospital, her husband Trevor Wicks asked his lawyer to request permission for Trevor to take Eileen to the hospital café on the main floor to celebrate his birthday and, a few days later, their 55th wedding anniversary, at a location outside of the hospital, in the company of a hospital staff member.
Instead, when he entered Eileen’s hospital room on his birthday, Wicks was dismayed to see Lorraine Kirk, Acting Director of Community Health Services, Nanaimo/Oceanside beside a “happy birthday” sign on the wall, and offering a chocolate cake. Wicks says Kirk told him “there is no one on staff” who could accompany him and Eileen to the main floor hospital café for a birthday coffee and treat.
As for their 55th anniversary celebration, Trevor Wicks said Ms. Kirk told him they would have to remain in the hospital, but staff would “order in from anywhere you like and you can use the cafeteria for the anniversary celebration.” Wicks said, “I told her we don’t go out to fancy restaurants, and we don’t want to celebrate our anniversary in the hospital.”
Undaunted, Ms. Kirk emailed Trevor Wicks directly two days later to repeat her offer to organize an “anniversary party” for Mr. and Mrs. Wicks. “It’s insulting,” said Wicks, who emailed Kirk back to decline again, and to say that he and Eileen now had nothing to celebrate.
Readers may recall that Lorraine Kirk is the person who sharply told Trevor Wicks in a meeting at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on February 24, 2022, “Eileen isn’t going home,” after which Ms. Kirk read aloud Island Health’s plan which they call a “Support and Assistance Plan.” Their proposed care plan is the basis for which Island Health is seeking a Provincial Court order to force Eileen into long-term care and ignore Trevor Wicks’ authority as her Personal Representative.
Island Health engages B.C. courts to thwart Eileen’s release
Island Health — which is still refusing to provide Eileen’s medical records — is pushing to impose a sweeping ban on publication and sealing of all related legal documents, including all Court orders. Other media outlets contacted by Second Opinion QB expressed astonishment, wondering how anyone can comply with secret (sealed) court orders, particularly publication ban orders. However, Island Health may encounter some bumps on the road in their efforts to obtain orders to seal all court records and evidence, and impose a publication ban.
Apparently, a publication ban was ordered by a Provincial Court judge on May 18, 2022, but no one is allowed to see or have a copy of the actual filed Order. As reported in a previous story, Island Health’s lawyer Melissa Perry admitted that there was confusion about whether “the ban” was just a “direction” in the Clerk’s Notes and she noted that there was confusion about whether she and the Wicks’ lawyer even heard the order being made in court. According to another lawyer we spoke with, apparently another publication ban hearing was held on May 27 in Provincial Court, and the order was “tightened,” whatever that means. When asked for a copy of the order, the lawyer would only allow us to listen to him read from his computer screen, what he said were the terms of one of the publication ban orders. Trevor Wicks says he has now been informed that there is a third hearing about the publication ban, scheduled for June 9 in Provincial Court. Wicks does not know the reason for or purpose of this hearing.
On May 30, in a B.C. Supreme Court hearing attended by this reporter, the Court appeared to grant Island Health’s application for a publication ban order. Mr. Justice Baird said that he believed no one would want their personal information made public. People who are in regular contact with both Eileen and Trevor Wicks know that they steadfastly maintain that they want all of this information to be made public, “so that this doesn’t ever happen to other people.”
Justice Baird agreed to all but one of Island Health’s publication ban requests, denying Island Health’s request to “anonymize” Eileen Wicks’ name i.e. to hide her identity by referring to her only as E.W. The justice said Eileen Wicks’ name was already well known. The exact terms of the B.C. Supreme Court publication ban however were not specified during the hearing. Instead, Mr. Justice Baird instructed the respective parties’ lawyers to work out final details between themselves.
Second Opinion QB’s repeated requests for a copy of the two publication ban orders have, to date, been denied. The response from several lawyers from whom we requested copies have been met with almost comical refusals. A cascading, changing set of banned items was communicated over the course of several weeks, each with differing and changing terms and conditions, and wording. In some instances, we were informed that we should not publish Island Health’s proposed “care plan” to force Eileen into long-term care, and in another instance Island Health specifically wanted any photos of the large “boils” that developed on Eileen’s face to be removed from public view.
Wicks concerned Island Health may try to dismiss the habeas corpus petition without a hearing
On April 28, 2022, Eileen Wicks’ lawyer filed a habeas corpus petition in B.C. Supreme Court which seeks to have Eileen released immediately on the grounds that she is being confined unlawfully and in violation of her Charter rights. A week later, on May 4, Island Health filed an application in Provincial Court for a court order to force Eileen Wicks into long-term care. Two weeks later, Island Health, during a court proceeding to set court dates, also requested a publication ban on both legal proceedings.
A date for the hearing of Island Health’s application to obtain a court order to force Eileen into long-term care has been set for June 17 and 18 in Provincial Court.
For some unknown reason, no date has yet been set in B.C. Supreme Court for the habeas corpus petition to release Eileen Wicks immediately, even though it was filed before Island Health’s application in Provincial Court.
Trevor Wicks worries that Island Health is trying to avoid having the habeas corpus petition heard in Court at all. He wonders that by trying to have their court application heard first they might then ask the Court to just dismiss the habeas corpus petition entirely, without a court hearing. “Why should they be allowed to have their court application first? They were holding Eileen in that prison for months, and did nothing until after our lawyer filed the habeas corpus,” says Trevor Wicks.
Public, lawyers and media concerned about growing court and institutional secrecy
There are many cases of health authority overreach, and efforts to suppress information and to protect their staff, that are to the detriment of vulnerable members of the public.
Health authority conceals results of investigation into admitted negligence of 6-year-old child
Katie Jameson found her six-year-old daughter Kenzie outside her Vancouver day care on a cold day in October 2021, in bare feet, with no coat. Kenzie has Down syndrome. Ms. Jameson made a complaint to her daughter’s day care facility and to the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) which licenses child care operators.
In March 2022, Jameson contacted the health authority for an update into their investigation and was told that the day care was found not to have neglected or discriminated against Kenzie. Astonished, Jameson filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to obtain records relating to the health authority’s investigation.
CBC reports that a “heavily redacted copy of the investigation [report]… reveals that staff members were interviewed, the grounds [of the day care] were inspected, and emails exchanged between the Jamesons and staff were reviewed…” The health authority investigation report also reveals that the reason the [day care] program was not found to be at fault is redacted in the document.
CBC also noted that several times throughout the document, it is stated that ‘based on a balance of probabilities, it is unsubstantiated the incident occurred as alleged.’”
Katie Jameson is stunned. The day care admitted they “failed to provide an adequate level of care,” and issued a statement and apology in writing to the family after the incident, but according to the health authority, “it is your word against theirs, and they win,” says Jameson.
Fraser Health Authority found guilty of illegally detaining “vulnerable” woman
On February 22, 2019, a decision issued by the Honourable Madam Justice Warren of the B.C. Supreme Court found that Fraser Health Authority had illegally detained a “vulnerable” 39-year-old woman for months and, in so doing, violated the woman’s rights under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Justice Warren granted the woman her rights under habeas corpus. This is the same form of legal recourse that Eileen Wicks’ lawyer relied on in a petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court on April 28, 2022 seeking Eileen’s immediate release from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
In her Reasons for Judgment, Justice Lisa Warren began with the following statement.
As expressed by then Chief Justice McLachlin in United States of America v. Ferras, 2006 SCC 33 at para. 19, it is “an ancient and venerable principle … as old as the Magna Carta” that no person shall lose her liberty “without due process according to the law”. This is among the most fundamental aspects of the rule of law, and one that must be protected and fostered, perhaps most keenly in the context of the non-punitive detention of vulnerable people who, because of some incapacitating condition, find themselves subject to well-meaning but non-consensual state interventions that deprive them of their autonomy.
Just as Vancouver Island Health Authority (Island Health) is now attempting to do in Eileen Wicks’ case, Fraser Health Authority sought a court order to enforce their proposed “Support and Assistance Plan” on this woman (identified as A.W.). Despite the fact that Fraser Health Authority had obtained a Provincial Court order to enforce their care plan, Justice Warren dismissed the health authority’s conduct as “inexplicable,” and granted the woman her rights under habeas corpus.
Justice Warren writes, “There is no doubt that on October 6, 2016, F.H.A. [Fraser Health Authority] staff had good reason to believe that A.H. had been abused and that she was at risk of serious harm. However, there is also no doubt that F.H.A. could have promptly applied in Provincial Court for an order authorizing the provision of support and services to her in accordance with whatever plan F.H.A. deemed appropriate. F.H.A.’s failure to take that step and its decision to instead detain A.H. for nearly a year, without providing her with clear and written reasons for the detention or the opportunity to obtain legal advice, under conditions that significantly violated her residual liberty, is inexplicable.”
Some of Madame Justice Warren’s key findings in this case include:
 For the reasons I have already expressed, there is no reasonable interpretation of the AGA [Adult Guardianship Act] that would have authorized F.H.A. to indefinitely detain A.H.
 “An involuntary detention for a period longer than is reasonably required to apply for a support and assistance order under s. 56 of the AGA is not an “emergency measure” as those words are used in s. 59(2)(e) of the AGA. Accordingly, F.H.A.’s detention of A.H. was unlawful on jurisdictional grounds. A.H. is entitled to the habeas corpus relief sought in the Petition.
 A.H.’s right to be free from arbitrary detention under s. 9 of the Charter was violated by F.H.A. because F.H.A. did not have the authority to detain her.
 A.H.’s rights to be promptly provided with reasons for her detention under ss. 7 and 10(a) of the Charter were violated by F.H.A.
 A.H.’s rights to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right under s. 10(b) of the Charter were violated by F.H.A.
 A.H.’s rights to have deprivations of her liberty and security of the person promptly reviewed pursuant to ss. 7, 9 and 10(c) of the Charter were violated by F.H.A. failing to promptly seek authorization for her detention from the Provincial Court and interfering with her ability to exercise her s. 10(c) right to seek habeas corpus by impeding her access to legal advice.
 A.H.’s rights to be free from deprivations of her residual liberty and security of the person pursuant to s. 7 of the Charter were violated by F.H.A.
READ the full Reasons for Judgment at https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2019/2019bcsc227/2019bcsc227.html?autocompleteStr=S177220&autocompletePos=1
The long shadow of staff-caused harm to vulnerable people in “care”
As reported in an earlier article, Island Health’s shroud of secrecy and power enabled by Orwellian legislation, British Columbia’s Adult Guardianship Act shields staff and anyone who makes a “report” about another person suggesting that the person needs to be protected by the health authorities. The allegations against Trevor and Eileen Wicks, who made them and what evidence there is to support these allegations are being redacted and concealed. Even the “accused” is not permitted to know these “details.”
A 2005 B.C. Supreme Court ruling in the case of a resident, Stephen Piccolo, in the Overlander, a Kamloops nursing home operated by Interior Health, reveals the extent of the power, secrecy and impunity with which health professionals are allowed to act.
Suspecting abuse, Mr. Piccolo’s daughter Judy Sellin and her son obtained video from a camera they had hidden in his room. The video apparently contained scenes of abusive treatment of her father by several staff. None of us will ever see that video. Why? Because the Court imposed a permanent ban on viewing this video. The reason? According to an article in the Globe and Mail, the Court ruled that the video was “defamatory and violated employees’ privacy.”
In an effort to settle the balance between those rights to privacy and the ability of a family to monitor a member’s care, Ms. Sellin sued Interior Health Authority. “That was my father’s private room,” she said. “It was his home. It’s his privacy that should be protected.” Her father died shortly after the video was taken, and she was informed that the “case died with him; he no longer had any rights.”
The same Overlander nursing home in Kamloops was also in the news in the spring of 2022 for having evicted a woman in her 90s who had lived there for five years. The woman has dementia and requires a wheelchair, and was not provided with any alternative accommodations or solutions.
READ more about the permanently banned video at: https://www.pressreader.com/canada/vancouver-sun/20100108/283115655075697