Nurse locks couple in hospital room, Island Health’s shroud of secrecy and power enabled by Orwellian legislation

March 26, 2022 – “A nurse burst through the door,” said Trevor Wicks, and “without saying a word, grabbed Eileen’s hand and scanned her [wristband], like she was [an item] at a supermarket checkout, then left the room.” A short while later the same nurse returned and spoke “in an unfriendly tone, asking ‘Are you the husband?’” When he said yes, the nurse told them she was going to lock the couple inside Eileen’s room and they would have to ring a bell if they wanted to get out. According to Mr. Wicks, the nurse gave no reason, and then left just as abruptly, locking the door behind her.

Wicks said he went to the locked door and called out, “this isn’t a jail.” After some discussion, the nurse relented and the door is now left unlocked during his visits. However, since that incident on Saturday March 19th, Eileen is apparently now being locked in her room overnight. Eileen Wicks remains in that room at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital where she has been incarcerated since she was apprehended under the B.C. Adult Guardianship Act by a squad of RCMP officers and Island Health staff on January 12, 2022.

Stress and neglectful nursing care suspected causes of face and neck abscesses

The stressful detention for almost three months in a room no bigger than a typical bedroom is taking its toll. As previously reported, several weeks ago Eileen developed a large boil (abscess) on her neck which Trevor Wicks brought to the attention of a nurse. Later, he was told that a doctor apparently lanced the boil the next day, and overheard a nurse saying she was giving Eileen antibiotics. Mr. Wicks says Eileen has no history of boils. The boil on her neck disappeared within the week, but a few days ago Trevor noticed that Eileen had developed several other large boils, this time on her face. Again, he asked a nurse to look at them. A nurse bandaged the largest boil on Eileen’s cheek. During his visit with Eileen on March 24, Trevor Wicks said a nurse told him that Eileen was now being given two antibiotics.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the development of a boil on the face or several boils that have merged forming a carbuncle, can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications. An infection of multiple, recurring boils can be the result of a weakened immune system.

According to Trevor Wicks, he is not being routinely consulted or provided with information about medications or treatments the hospital might be giving Eileen. According to many studies over the past decade, hospitals and long-term care facilities in Canada frequently administer medications and treatments without obtaining the consent of the person or their Representative, as they are expected to do.

Eileen phones her husband often, begging to come home and telling him, “I can’t take it anymore Trev!” Trevor says he tells her that he is doing everything he can to get her out but she, like many people, cannot fathom why Island Health or anyone would do this to them. In her soft British accent, Eileen recently said to this reporter and another visitor during a discussion about why she is detained in hospital and isn’t allowed to go home with Trevor, “It’s wicked, isn’t it?”

Mr. Wicks makes the 45-minute one-way trip from their home in Qualicum Beach, usually every second day, spending three or four hours with Eileen. “It’s hardest when I start to pack up to leave,” he says. “Up until then we have lovely visits, singing karaoke or reading stories.” But, says Wicks, as soon as she realizes he is getting ready to leave again, Eileen starts to beg to come home. When he tells her the guards won’t let him, she accuses him of not wanting her to get out.

“It’s just so hard on both of us to have to go through this, I wonder if it would be less upsetting for Eileen if I didn’t visit her as often,” says Mr. Wicks. The anguish is clearly taking a toll on both of them. Trevor Wicks says he has not been able to sleep much more than an hour or two at night since Eileen was placed in involuntary detention.

Unclear who is giving consent to health care decisions being made for Eileen Wicks now

Trevor Wicks says that Island Health has refused to provide any proof that Eileen Wicks is being detained lawfully. In Island Health’s reply to a letter from Trevor Wicks’ lawyer dated March 1st, he says Island Health stated that they would not provide any evidence or records unless “legal action is commenced.”

Having so far evaded providing documented, verifiable evidence to prove they are holding her legally, Island Health is now shifting the spotlight, and burden, onto Eileen.

On March 15th, citing “unlawful confinement and harm to Eileen and Trevor Wicks caused by Island Health and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital,” Wicks’ lawyer issued a letter demanding that Eileen be released immediately. Island Health refused.

Doubling-down, the lawyers representing Island Health and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital have now engaged the B.C. Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) which, in turn, has hired a team of assessors to determine, over the next several weeks, Eileen’s level of decision-making capability.

According to the most recent communications Trevor Wicks has had, Island Health still acknowledges him to be Eileen’s Representative and substitute decision maker. However, the only “decision” Island Health will apparently permit him to make on behalf of Eileen is whether to send Eileen permanently to a long-term care facility. Both Eileen and Trevor refuse, as is their legal right.

But, under these bizarre terms, the only decision Island Health will accept from Trevor Wicks is if he agrees with their plan to put Eileen in long-term care; Island Health will not accept his decision if he disagrees with Island Health’s Support and Assistance Plan (SAP). That plan also stipulates that Trevor Wicks would not be permitted free access to Eileen if she is in long-term care, and dictates that all medical and personal care decisions about Eileen would be made by their daughter, Sharon (who has sent an email to Trevor Wicks stating she favours institutionalizing her mother, and who supports Island Health’s SAP).

Eileen Wicks, enjoying the king tide at Qualicum Beach’s Waterfront in January 2022, just a few days before she was apprehended.
Photo courtesy Trevor Wicks

It is unclear who is making personal and health care decisions for Eileen Wicks now. According to information Trevor Wicks recently received in a letter from their lawyers, Island Health claims they initially relied on the Wicks’ daughter Sharon for consent to incarcerate Eileen at NRGH, arbitrarily choosing to “pass over” Trevor’s legal authority.

Trevor Wicks reports that a letter from Island Health’s lawyers claims that Sharon provided Trevor — on the very day that he and Eileen were apprehended — with a copy of the legal notification that Eileen was being detained involuntarily under the British Columbia’s Adult Guardianship Act. Wicks denies receiving any documentation at all from anyone until weeks later. Second Opinion QB has evidence that, days after the January 12th apprehension, Sharon stated that no documentation of any kind had been received by her, or by her father, regarding her parents’ apprehensions and Eileen’s detention. Neither Island Health nor Sharon have provided any verifiable evidence to support Island Health’s claim that Trevor Wicks received any documented notification of Eileen’s apprehension under the Adult Guardianship Act on January 12th.

Trevor Wicks also reports that Island Health’s lawyers claim that Island Health did not receive a copy of Eileen Wicks’ Representation Agreement, naming Trevor Wicks to act as her substitute decision maker, until the couple’s MLA Adam Walker provided a copy to Island Health. On February 9th, Joanna Salken, a manager at Nanaimo/Oceanside Health Centre, claimed “this is the first time Island Health has seen this documentation.” According to the Wicks’ daughter Sharon, she provided a copy of Eileen’s Representation Agreement to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on January 15. Second Opinion QB has additional evidence confirming that Island Health already had a copy of Eileen’s Representation Agreement prior to the copy provided by MLA Walker.

Leaving aside Island Health’s specious unsubstantiated claims about when they first saw Eileen’s Representation Agreement, it beggars belief that Island Health didn’t already know that Eileen Wicks had appointed her husband Trevor as her Representative to make health and personal care decisions on her behalf.

As reported in a previous article, records obtained by Trevor Wicks about his apprehension by the RCMP reveal that Island Health had been planning the apprehensions of Eileen and Trevor Wicks for several months prior to January 12. Island Health’s home care and geriatric personnel met with the couple in their home several times in the month leading up to the couple’s apprehensions, giving Island Health ample opportunity to do their job properly, which would include ascertaining whether Eileen had a Representation Agreement.

Not to have confirmed who had authority to make decisions on Eileen’s behalf, especially knowing, as they did, that she has dementia, is a startling admission of incompetence. Island Health’s denials and refusal to provide verifiable evidence suggest that this may be an effort to cover up and/or excuse their decision to abduct the couple in the first place.

But although these and other discrepancies have been conveyed to them, Island Health is not backing off. Trevor Wicks says his lawyer believes that Island Health intends to apply for a court order to force Eileen into long-term care.

B.C. Adult Guardianship Act (AGA) designed to protect staff, not vulnerable people

BC’s Adult Guardianship Act (AGA) is an eye-opener. On the basis of an “anonymous” complaint, and without providing any verifiable evidence whatsoever of a justifiable reason, the state can detain a person indefinitely and keep the identity of the complainant a secret. This piece of legislation even purports to supersede B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In British Columbia law, healthcare providers are apparently exempt from legal action or punishment of any sort from the courts, from professional regulatory bodies, and from employers.

In addition, the Adult Guardianship Act legislation stipulates that the name of any person who submits a complaint to authorities about another person must remain secret, forever. It’s an astonishing piece of legislation that seems to have escaped the attention and interest of most everyone, including most of our elected representatives and media organizations. Even human rights groups appear oblivious to the potential for abuse of power embodied in this legislation.

The following are excerpts from British Columbia’s Adult Guardianship Act relating to health authority-imposed Support and Assistance Plans such as the one that Island Health has proposed should be imposed on Eileen Wicks.

It should be noted, that Island Health has not produced any verifiable evidence to support their claim that Eileen had been abused or neglected by anyone — prior to being apprehended and detained by Island Health. However, it is clear to Trevor Wicks and to people who have visited Eileen in hospital that she is currently being abused and neglected — by Island Health at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The conundrum is that there appears to be no one who will protect Eileen from abuse and neglect by government authorities and agencies.

Surprisingly, B.C.’s AGA legislation makes no provision whatsoever for the possibility that anyone with a grudge or other malicious intent might want to take advantage of this legislation’ to achieve dubious objectives. How is a person accused of wrongdoing able to demonstrate the report is false if the person is not provided with the details of the accusation? Trevor Wicks stands accused of wanting to kill his wife imminently, but he is not permitted to know who his accuser is or evidence of his alleged intentions.

The B.C. Adult Guardianship Act also states that the AGA “does not absolve a designated agency or the government from vicarious liability for an act or omission for which it would be vicariously liable if this section were not in force.” In other words, any person who works for, or works under the direction of, a designated agency or the B.C. government, can act with impunity, comfortable in the knowledge that their deeds will, likely and forever, go unpunished, and that the only entity that might be held liable for any wrongdoing at some future point is the agency or government for whom the perpetrators work.

No protection for the public

Any challenge, legal or otherwise, to these huge, powerful agencies (e.g. health authorities backed by taxpayer-funded lawyers) is daunting, even for the wealthiest among us. Requests for redress and protection (oversight body reviews, ombudspersons, inquiries, even court judgments) have proven to be largely ineffectual in protecting ordinary citizens from the abuse of power by B.C.’s healthcare and legal industries and by government and oversight agencies. In short, there are no meaningful consequences for abuse of power and harm to ordinary citizens in British Columbia.

Instead, the lawyers who created this legislation, the government(s) who enacted the legislation and the agencies who enforce it, all expect and indeed seem to want to force ordinary citizens to hire lawyers and begin a long and winding road to try to redress egregious harm committed by government health care workers and associated agencies, such as the Wicks are experiencing.

Trevor Wicks believes Eileen’s health and well-being cannot withstand much more than she has already endured, caged in one small room in a hospital ward for months, from her perspective, seemingly without end. Eileen is so despondent about being incarcerated and deprived of the comfort of her home and her husband’s companionship, he worries Eileen may harm herself.

Legislative Review of B.C.’s Adult Guardianship Act underway now – public can weigh in

The British Columbia government is currently reviewing its Adult Guardianship Act legislation. The public is invited to offer their comments and suggestions.

Interested in telling your government what you think about Eileen and Trevor Wicks’ situation? Do it now before this excellent and well-timed opportunity vanishes.

EMAIL your letter or comments to PLD@gov.bc.ca and to B.C. Premier John Horgan at premier@gov.bc.ca.

AND while you’re at it, maybe contact your federal government Ministers and MPs to tell them whether you are in favour of this new mental health service. “988” is a new mental health hotline number that will roll out across America in July of 2022. It’s rumoured to be coming to Canada too. Even after their own advisory committee criticized call tracing, leaders of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have been lobbying government for cutting-edge mass surveillance and tracking technology. Privacy experts are raising concerns.

READ Roll-out of 988 threatens anonymity of crisis hotlines

Couple’s daughter at odds with her parents

Several days after the apprehensions of her parents by a squad of RCMP officers and Island Health staff, and her mother’s detention at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, the couple’s daughter Sharon told this reporter “at least I know where she [Eileen] is.” That seemed an odd remark to make since, at that time, Sharon was saying that she was trying to get her mother discharged back home into her father’s care.

Eileen and Trevor, March 6, 2022 at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

As the weeks of Eileen’s incarceration stretch into months, so has the couple’s despair grown. Grasping at straws and desperate to come up with an alternative to Eileen being sent to long-term care, Trevor Wicks “asked Sharon if Eileen could live at her house instead, so that she wouldn’t be put in long-term care.” Sharon lives in the house that her parents owned in Qualicum Beach for many years, prior to the couple moving into a nearby condo a few years ago. He said Eileen is familiar with the house, so he thought this might be an acceptable interim alternative because Island Health continues to prevent Eileen from living in her own home with her husband.

Sharon refused her father’s request to have Eileen live in her home instead of long-term care.

Trevor Wicks said Sharon told him several weeks ago, “Mom has to go into long-term care. You can’t care for her. You can’t even care for yourself.” By most objective standards, these are not the words of a child acting in the best interests of her mother and father.

It is common, even encouraged, for people who are caring for a family member with dementia to obtain some respite relief. A month before the couple’s apprehension by RCMP, Trevor Wicks had asked Island Health for a few hours of weekly respite relief. No partner of a person with dementia has to shoulder the care burden alone. There are many qualified and competent part-time helpers available in most communities to provide needed services at reasonable rates, distinct from the services provided by Island Health.

A few days after the apprehensions of her parents, Sharon explained to this reporter that she is retraining for a second career to become a social worker. She said she is working on a practicum as part of a multi-year social work degree program. Referring to the abduction of her parents and claiming to want her mother discharged immediately, Sharon commented, “This will make me a much better social worker.”

Eileen Wicks writes letter to Island Health rejecting their Plan to put her in long-term care

Letter written by Eileen Wicks on March 19, 2022 in her hospital room at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile, on March 19, 2022, Eileen wrote a letter to Island Health, pictured at right, stating that she rejects Island Health’s plans to put her in a nursing home, and that she wants her husband Trevor to care for her.

Pictured below is a copy of Eileen Wicks’ rejection of Island Health’s Support and Assistance Plan (SAP) which outlines their proposal to put Eileen in long-term care without her or her husband Trevor’s consent.

Island Health’s SAP would also strictly limit the opportunities for Trevor to visit Eileen, and could ban him from visiting her altogether. The SAP specifically states that police will be called in to enforce the SAP. Island Health’s Support and Assistance Plan also proposes to grant the couple’s daughter Sharon decision-making authority over her mother. Both Eileen and Trevor Wicks oppose Island Health’s plan in its entirety.

The content of the SAP document, pictured at left, has been obscured here because, as explained in an article published March 13, Island Health claims that our publication of this document is evidence that Mr. Wicks is not acting in his wife’s best interests. While we disagree, we decided to remove access to the contents of this document in an effort to protect Eileen and Trevor Wicks from Island Health’s allegations.


READ previous stories published in Second Opinion QB about Eileen and Trevor Wicks:

Jan 21, 2022: RCMP squad enters BC condo without legal authority, apprehends couple in their 70s

Feb 04, 2022: Apprehensions of Eileen & Trevor Wicks become murkier

Feb 14, 2022: Nanaimo Hospital ignores FOI request for records, Eileen Wicks still detained, allegations surface

Feb 28, 2022: Another elder abduction by Island Health hospital, allegations by health professionals found to be false

Mar 13, 2022: Eileen Wicks begs to go home, Island Health refuses to release her records, MLAs’ questionable comments

March 13, 2022: Video of Eileen and Trevor Wicks singing karaoke in the hospital room, a thank you to the people of Campbell River, BC who held a rally to pressure the British Columbia government to release Eileen.

See LETTERS in this issue: Island Health letter absurd – Yet another Royal Jubilee Hospital illegal detention

To SIGN PETITION established by friends of Eileen and Trevor Wicks, go to Change.org/FreeEileenWicks