The family of an 80-year-old man is calling for answers following his death after being denied treatment for pneumonia at a long-term care facility in St. Henri.

Jean-Claude Brief’s daughter said her father suffered from dementia, necessitating he be placed under the care of Quebec’s public curator. The former philosophy professor was still under that care, living in the Centre d’hebergement de St-Henri, when he died on Friday.

Ura Greenbaum, who heads the Association for the Defence of People And Property Under Public Curatorship, said Brief’s daughter had only been made aware of his pneumonia days prior, and learned his medical care would be stopped two days before his death and the curator’s office refused to transfer him to hospital for urgent care.

“Imagine if it happened to your relative or your parents, if you found yourself in that situation,” said Greenbaum. “Just unthinkable.”

She successfully petitioned a judge for an emergency court order but Brief died just hours after being transferred.

“She got the court order signed at 5:30 last night, she ran over to the residence with it and called Urgence Sante to transport him out of the residence,” said Greenbaum.

The Quebec public curator oversees the care of more than 13,000 people who are incapacitated or cannot properly care for themselves or their property. Patients’ rights advocate Paul Brunet said what happened to Brief is unacceptable.

“The first duty of any administration is to save the patient, and if that kind of acute care was needed, they should have gone with it without having to be forced to go on by the court and by the family,” said Brunet.

The health authority that oversees the long-term care facility and the Quebec public curator’s office both declined to comment on Brief’s case, citing confidentiality concerns. A spokesperson for the public curator did say that treatment decisions come from the patient’s doctor, which is then evaluated by the curator.