Friday, May 6, 2011

update on elder abuse

I just received the following and  I thought I would share it with those of you who have been following the issue of Kathleen Palamarek, that I blogged about recently. She died on May 4th and my heart goes out to her family and I hope that they will be able to heal themselves as they work through the tragedy of their mothers death. The following is the text of the email I received without any changes but without the attachments, mentioned in the email.
Hello everyone. This is an update of the situation regarding the plight of Kathleen Palamarek who has been the subject of a guardianship court application for the past three years. Her daughter Lois sought guardianship of her mother so her mother could come to live with Lois and her husband Gil, as she had wished and they welcomed. Mrs. Palamarek's sons sought guardianship so their mother would be kept in an institution (Broadmead Lodge).

On Tuesday, May 3rd, the judge released his decision on the guardianship court case that ended on February 18, 2011. Lois was not appointed to be Mom's guardian, her brothers were. 

The judge wrote a 70-page "reasons for judgment" document. It contains inaccuracies, and ignores whole swaths of evidence of wrong-doing and false statements by her brothers, and by Broadmead Lodge and their doctors that were revealed in court, or made to the court (and confirmed in court documents). It seems hard evidence (i.e. proof) of wrong-doing has no currency in BC courts any longer.
The judge, David Harris, goes to great lengths to portray Lois as a manipulative and generally distasteful person. Other people have said that this entire document reads like a personal attack by the judge on Lois. Worst of all is the way the judge portrayed Mom, and how he portrayed Mom's relationship with Lois. We should say "mis-portrayed". We're heart-broken over that, and angry. This document is now a permanent, very public, and wrongful stain on Kathleen Palamarek's character and on her relationship with her daughter. We have attached a copy of this judge's "reasons" if you wish to read it. We'd be happy to answer any questions people may have arising from it, and provide any documents to substantiate what we say. In our view, the only court in BC that is worthy of trust now is the court of public opinion.

Yesterday, another article about Mom's situation was published, this one commenting on the judge's reasons for decision. Here's the link to that article:

For those of you who do not know, the past two and a half months since the court hearing concluded, and while we were waiting for the judge's decision, have been fraught with terrible events. Rather than go into an explanation, here are some media stories that explain the main incidents:
Now for the hardest news.
On Wednesday, May 4th, Mom died. 
Attached are the two emails and phone message Lois received from her brothers leading up to and announcing Mom's death. You can click on the voice message to listen to it. We are sharing these because we want people to know the truth about how Mom was treated by her sons and by Broadmead Lodge and their doctors. The perfunctory sentiments proclaiming sadness do not mask the underlying intentions of continued brutal repression of Mom, and of we who wished to protect her.
The next morning (yesterday) Lois made a request to the BC Coroner's Office, with the assistance of seniors' advocates Lyne England RN and Carol Pickup RN (retired) to whom we are very grateful. The Coroner's Office is now investigating to determine what further actions might be taken to learn more about the circumstances of Mom's death.
The events leading up to Mom's death were suspiciously similar to the events leading up to the February 24th narcotic poisoning incident for which Broadmead Lodge and their doctors are under police investigation. We later learned that the care facility doctor had suddenly and secretly prescribed Mom a morphine drug to be administered in ever-increasing dosage (i.e. "palliative morphine" as the Emergency physician explained with puzzlement, noting that Mom had no terminal illness pain that would justify her being administered this drug). We were informed that Mom had also not been given food or water for two days during the administration of the morphine. She would have died without our call to 911 on that day. On both occasions, Feb 24 and the events of the past week, the messages we received from Lois' brother did not match our and other visitor's observations of Mom, and there were additional things that just did not make sense. We do not believe morphine was used on this latest occasion but instead other, less obvious, means were at work to hasten Mom's demise.

We had our first inkling that something was afoot a week ago. Our lawyer Lloyd Duhaime sent a letter to register our concerns about Mom's care and health to the lawyers for Lois' brothers and for Broadmead Lodge. We also requested information on what medications she was now on, and  an independent medical assessment of Mom. We communicated those concerns to the Saanich Police as well (letters attached). No response was received from either Broadmead, the brothers or the Saanich Police to our letters . Lois' brothers did not permit Mom to be treated in a hospital; instead she was designated for "comfort care" only (lowest level "care"), which might be more accurately referred to as "aggressive neglect" as we and other visitors to Mom observed it. 

We miss Mom enormously, and have been missing her enormously since March 31st when Broadmead Lodge's lawyer imposed restrictions on access to Mom, preventing us and others from seeing her except for limited visits, and always in the presence of a security guard. The restrictions were so bizarre that no visitors were allowed to meet with Mom in her room or to enter her room for any reason, even with a guard present, even if Mom requested it. Instead Mom was marched down the hallway by a guard to a specific meeting room. Broadmead Lodge relented on that last restriction only this past week when Mom suddenly became too ill to leave her room. The morally repugnant impunity with which health care personnel and other public agencies in BC are permitted to operate in BC is an epidemic. It exists because staff are protected from prosecution, thanks to the rules and regulations established by our government. As a result, they can literally take, shake, bend and break a person's life. But we will not let them smear Mom's  name or her character in death.

For those who haven't seen it, please watch the short video "Visits with Kathleen April 2011". It was done only 10 days ago, and it shows that, right up until this past week Mom, was quite well. We believe that, had Mom received proper medical treatment, she would be alive and well today. This video completely debunks the considerable efforts made by health and legal "professionals" and by her sons to mischaracterize Mom's capabilities and to twist the reality of her life to suit their ends. Please read the blurb beneath the video (click on "Show more") before viewing because it explains things that otherwise would be confusing or go unnoticed as you watch it). 

You are welcome to contact us if you wish. Your support has always been a great comfort to us, and to Mom. 

We will not let her death go unnoticed, nor be in vain. Think of Kathleen Palamarek this weekend, on Mother's Day. She was the best mother a person could possibly hope for, and so much more. She was pure grace.
Lois and Gil Sampson


  1. How sad. Of course you must fight for your mom. She couldn't fight for herself, then and now. My prayers tonight, will be for you and your beloved mother.

    I am nearing 70, and I still miss my mother. I still remember her everyday.

    You too will keep your mothers memory, right in your hearts.

  2. May Kathleen Palamarek rest in peace. I truly hope, that the Coroners Office investigates thoroughly. To me Kathleen Palamarek's death the day after Judge Harris's decision looks very suspicious.

    We at PSWA Canada follow stories like Kathleens, and one would think this should never happen in Canada. British Columbians need a wake up call, those in power in the legislature got rid of B.C's only provincial Mental Health Advocate in 2001. Why?

    Police in BC are not obligated to provide written objective reports to medical staff when police take citizens to medical staff under B.C's Infamous Mental Health Act Section 28(1), to which misinformation may get passed on from caller to police to physician.

    Big pharmaceutical companies should be banned from funding organizations where chiefs of police and physicians sit on the Board.

    Who will speak for you, when someone deems you incapable to make your own decisions? Watch out for each other, as the system appears to have no safety mechanisms to avoid such tragedies.

    Gordon W. Stewart Director
    Pacific South Western Advocates