#Quebec; PubliInquiry; #CHSLDs; #Investigation; #Covid19RelatedDeaths
Quebec, Jun 17 (Canadian-Media): A wide-ranging public inquiry has been ordered by Quebec's chief coroner Pascale Descary, to probe into deaths that have occurred in the province's long-term care homes, private seniors' residences and other residential institutions for vulnerable people over the first six weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Image: CHSLD. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
A majority of the province's COVID-19 deaths had taken place in Quebec's public or private long-term care homes, known by their French initials as CHSLDs.
"This entirely public process will allow the Quebec population to be informed of the facts raised during the hearings and to follow reflection on this important social issue, said Descary in a news release.
There had been shortage of staff in these CHSLDs long before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investigation by the coroner's office is already in process for the CHSLD Herron in Dorval, in Montreal's West Island, a private long-term care home, that recorded 31 deaths in less than one month.
Lawyer Géhane Kamel, the coroner responsible for the CHSLD Herron inquiry, will preside over the larger inquiry.
Investigations by Kamel would "form the basis of this survey. The analysis will therefore focus first on the facts surrounding the deaths recorded in this establishment. Subsequently, Kamel and his team will select deaths in several types of residences and several regions in order to provide a representative picture of the situation at the provincial level." said Descary in today's news release.
After determining the causes and circumstances of the deaths, the Inquiry will then proceed to provide recommendations on how to prevent these types of deaths in the future.
"It is important to remember that coroners intervene in cases of violent, obscure or death that could be linked to negligence. Deaths outside these tags, including those that result solely from a coronavirus infection, are not investigated by the coroners", said the news release.
Thus, to be analyzed as part of the investigation, the deaths selected must meet the following criteria:
"To deal both with the complexity of the subject and the large number of deaths, a coroner with a medical background, Dr Jacques Ramsay, was appointed to assist and enlighten Kamel throughout the process of public inquiry" said the news release.
Descary ordered a "vast public inquiry" in spite of Premier François Legault's resistance for an inquiry, saying the province is focused on addressing the immediate crisis inside the homes.
Last month, Ontario became the first province to announce a wide-scale investigation into its long-term care system as a result of a large number of deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic.