MONTREAL -- A Second World War veteran who launched a class action lawsuit in a fight for better living conditions at Ste-Anne’s hospital never lived to see the final $19-million settlement.

In his last battle before his death on Feb. 3, Wolf William Solkin spearheaded the legal fight to challenge the poor care he and other residents said they received at the facility. He argued the hospital took a turn for the worse after the Quebec government took over management of the facility from the federal government in 2016. 

According to Solkin’s previous statements, when he first arrived at the hospital, the care was exceptional, but after the change in management, the facility became understaffed and he claimed he had been left in his bed with a soiled diaper for an hour. 

“Instead of a culture of care, we’re now living in a culture of ‘I don’t care,’” he said in 2018 after launching the suit against both layers of government and a local health authority. 

In a notice issued last month, the Superior Court said the settlement had been reached, paving the way for residents at Ste-Anne’s to be entitled to financial reimbursement. 

The settlement still has to be approved by a judge, but it’s a major win that comes too late for the war hero. 

Solkin's lawyer, Laurent Kanemy, told CTV he called Solkin on Feb.1 — two days before his death — to give him the news that a settlement had been reached. He said his client was overcome with joy. 

"There was a pause on the phone and he got very emotional, and started crying. He said, 'I'm so happy, I don't know what to tell you,'" recalled Kanemy. 

"Something like that is major for them. It's not really about the money, it's about respecting them and doing something that shows you've acknowleded that they deserve respect."

A hearing is scheduled for April 22 in Montreal for the court to decide whether the settlement is approved.