WWII vet says veteran's hospital was unprepared for COVID-19 crisis
Published Sunday, April 19, 2020 10:57PM EDT
MONTREAL -- A World War II vet living in the Ste-Anne's Hospital is worried that COVID-19 could spread through the facility.
Despite his military service and living through the Great Depression, 97-year-old Wolf Solkin said COVID-19 has him scared, especially how the regional health authority has reacted to the pandemic.
“They had to be dragged kicking and screaming into taking action unless they were forced to,” he said. “They didn't insist on employees washing their hands before entering the building.”
Thus far, only two Ste-Anne's patients have been diagnosed with the virus. While Solkin has been confined to his room, he said when he was able to leave, he saw things that had him worried, like crowded elevators.
“You do that, you wipe out all the good things you tried to do,” he said.
He added that recently, people from other hospitals were admitted to the facility.
“They were not tested before being brought here,” he said. “Their answer to that when I protested was 'Well, if they show symptoms, we will test them.”
A nurse from the hospital who wished to remain anonymous said the hospital was slow to react to COVID-19 but that protective measures are now being taken.
In a statement, the regional health authority said infection control experts were deployed to the hospital and extra staff was added.
Greg Kelly, the MNA for the hospital's region, recently wrote a letter to Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann asking for more resources in the veterans' hospital.
“We heard one of the veterans had a case,” he told CTV News. “It's a very vulnerable clientele, they're all in their 90s, so very at risk to not only contract COVID, but perhaps die from it.”
Solkin said while improvements have been made, he wants to continue fighting for his fellow veterans. He's part of a class action lawsuit against the provincial and federal governments, as well as the regional health authority for lack of care.
Solkin insisted he's not afraid of death but of the other consequences COVID-19 can bring.
“My time is up anyway,” he said. “I've outlived all my old friends and I certainly outlives the statistics. But I would hate to die like this.”