Montreal News | Local Breaking | CTV News Montreal
Families of residents in Montreal North care home say death toll, infections higher than reported
MONTREAL -- Anger and frustration are growing at a long-term care facility in Montreal North, where workers and families say the number of infections and deaths is much higher than the Quebec government is reporting.
“My mother died on Mother’s Day, May 10,” said Josie Rinzelli, whose mother Gilda suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and was being cared for at CHSLD Angelica. “When I finally got her to the hospital, her veins were totally collapsed and her kidneys were in total failure.”
Rinzelli said her mother died from severe dehydration and believes it was due to neglect. She said she fought to get into the facility as a caregiver, but was denied -- and her appeals were ignored.
“It's even more shameful because it's run by the church. Like they don't have a bad enough reputation as it is, now they go and do this?” she said.
Workers at CHSLD Angelica said they’re short-staffed and exhausted, and their unions say one-quarter of the staff is now COVID-positive.
They also say a third of the residents have been infected.
“The army was supposed to come, the army didn't come. We were supposed to get help from the (northern Montreal regional health board), nobody's coming. we need help in this building,” said Denise Joseph, vice-president of the FIQ health care union.
Since the lockdown, the FIQ said at least 59 people have died from the virus at that facility, far more than the 16 deaths reported by the health ministry.
Joseph said they’re troubled that health-care workers are still missing protective gear.
“If they're saying every day in their press conference that they do have the protective equipment in enough numbers, well we would like to know where they are, because they're not here,” she said.
The union for health technicians, APTS, claims there are also problems with the infection control protocols at the Angelica residence.
“They're mixing some positive residents with some negative residents, two in a room, so sometimes one is negative the other is positive. They can contaminate the other one,” explained APTS national representative Josee Frechette.
While they fight for help from the province, some families are hoping to file a class-action lawsuit against the residence.
“That is criminal,” said Rinzelli. “If nothing else, they should be held accountable -- and also the government. And if we don't do something about it, it's on us. It will be our fault that our parents died in there.”
On Tuesday, the CHSLD Angelica confirmed to CTV News Montreal that as of May 26, they have 92 residents who are COVID-positive and 61 deaths. They said 75 residents have recovered from the virus.
“Our deaths are recorded by a doctor who validates the cause of death,” said spokesperson Mélanie Aussant.
Aussant said the private care home received help from the North Island CIUSSS as well as public health in addition to having volunteers from the Congrégation des Sœurs de Charité de Sainte-Marie.
“Resident care and services have been and will always be up to the same standard for 50 years,” said Aussant, adding that the facility has been confirmed with honourable mention by health-care accreditors Accreditation Canada. “We have been transparent since the start of the pandemic in all of our communications.”