Quebec coroner to hear from final witnesses in long-term care inquest
MONTREAL -- A coroner's inquest into a suburban Montreal long-term care home where 47 people died during the pandemic's first wave is hearing from a handful of witnesses this week before it concludes.
Coroner Gehane Kamel wants to fill in the blanks that were left after the initial month of testimony into the 47 deaths at the Herron care home in Dorval, Que.
Last month, the inquiry heard about the appaling conditions at Herron during the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 when many residents were left uncared for, dehydrated, unfed, or soiled.
Coroner Kamel scheduled an additional three days to call back witnesses, including Bridgette Auger, a West Island health authority director who was sent to take over operations from Herron's private owners.
However, Auger said she was there in an administrative capacity to work alongside the owners -- a point that one of the lawyers representing some families is focused on.
Lawyer Patrick Martin-Menard believes there was administrative confusion within the health authority on who was in charge of the home that delayed resolving many of the issues and ultimatly led to further deaths.
On Monday, the inquiry also heard from an adminstrative nurse and ombudsperson on patient oversight at Herron prior to the pandemic.
The coroner will also use these extra days to review security camera footage from inside the care home to review the performance of staff and verify if they left their posts and residents to their own devices
The inquiry heard at one point only three staff were left to care for 133 residents.