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City investigating after man taken to hospital from Moss Park Armoury shelter

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jan 23rd, 2018

The city is now investigating after a homeless man was sent to hospital from the Moss Park Armoury shelter on Sunday.

 

Initial reports indicated the man had died in hospital, although paramedics did not confirm the death, saying only that one person was transported to hospital from the armoury and he was alive at the time.

City shelter staff were also unable to provide clarification and told CityNews they had no information about the man’s condition after he was taken to hospital.

Witnesses at the shelter tell CityNews it took three days of complaining before the man was eventually rushed to hospital on Sunday and thereafter no one was able to confirm if he had survived.

Late Monday afternoon, activist and street nurse Cathy Crowe told CityNews that “multiple sources” now tell her the man is in fact alive.

Crowe said witnesses told her the man had been writhing in pain, struggling in his cot and even foaming at the mouth, but no one saw staff members intervene or help. One witness even told Crowe they heard a staff member say “he’s faking it.”

Witnesses said it wasn’t until someone from the Overdose Prevention Site asked a member of the military to check on the man, that 911 was called. A shelter resident says even at that point, it was another resident and not shelter staff who contacted emergency services.

Questions are now being raised about the way city staff dealt with the situation.

Activists and shelter residents are raising concerns about what they say are deplorable conditions and a lack of assistance at the armoury shelter. A woman who was in the bed next to the man in distress also claimed there are no medical staff inside the armoury.

Councillor for Ward 21 Joe Mihevc said the investigation is in its early stages and the city has not yet received a report from either hospital or shelter staff. He added the city wants to ensure that the shelter system is up to the “best standards possible.”

“We certainly feel as a city that every shelter where there are vulnerable people should have medical personnel,” he said. “This certainly has to be part of the investigation. I’m not sure what the shelter staff had at Moss Park, but that has to be looked at very closely as well.”

Crowe said the incident has shaken many people at the armoury and has them worried for their safety if there’s an emergency.

“People we spoke with were severely traumatized by what they had seen. Many were sobbing and upset and angry at what they witnessed which they describe as staff neglect to a man in deteriorating health leading to a health crisis and the indignities he experienced,” Crowe said in a statement.

“Many identified their own health vulnerabilities and felt insecure, wondering if they too would be neglected, not cared for in an emergency,” she said.

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