By Published On: May 5th, 20139 Comments

An update on Mia following her narrow escape from involuntary electroshock therapy

Eight months after an independent tribunal ordered her released from hospital, the Vancouver Island Health Authority is still pursuing a Saanich woman. Focus previously reported on 82-year-old Mia (“The Case for Electroshocking Mia,” November 2012), whom VIHA senior geriatric psychiatrist Dr Michael Cooper had slotted for electro-convulsive shock therapy against the wishes of her and her family. Last July, an official inquiry determined Mia needn’t be forcibly treated for depression nor even hospitalized; however, almost immediately VIHA representatives began calling, coming by the family home, and demanding that Mia check in with them. Mia, her granddaughter Michelle and grandson-in-law Russel and their children fled the city.

They’d hoped they could have quietly returned to their normal lives by now, but in March, VIHA sent a letter to Mia’s lawyer demanding “evidence” of Mia’s exact current location and that she’s undergoing “treatment of her medical conditions.” Otherwise, continues the letter, “VIHA will need access to [Mia].” Read the rest at Focus online.

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  1. J Milliard May 6, 2013 at 8:11 am

    This lady is very lucky. There is a man in Parksville BC that went into a home. They got him to sign his rights away and didn’t even check with family. They keep him doped up and in diirty diapers for upto 12 hours. They refuse fo feed him. His son has to be there to do this. It got so bad that the son was dating the diapers and one nurse says he isn’t on med and another one says yes he is. They have him on oxy.
    It is sad that the elderly are treated worse than a child ever would be and taking there rights away from them is a crime.
    Please start looking to, to so called long care nursing homes, and please start in Parksville BC Trillium Lodge.
    Families like Mia’s thank your lucky stars that you were there and you have a mother that is safe and well taken care of..

  2. Rob Wipond May 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    There are various avenues the son could try. None are guaranteed to work, but they can help. If the father is not able to speak for himself, then the strongest is if the surviving close family get together and apply for committeeship over the father as a united front (if someone in the family disagrees, it becomes more problematic). This must go to court, so a lawyer can help. He may also want to speak to the BC Ombudsperson and ask for the case to be investigated.

    Focus is a local Victoria magazine, so we don’t do a lot of investigating into individual cases in other cities. Also, the reality is, coverage in our magazine rarely ‘helps’ people in these kinds of cases, unfortunately. Media helps sometimes (especially daily news outlets that can follow a story daily and keep updating), but it also requires lawyers, advocates, family, politicans etc to be drawn in.

    If you click on the category “seniors” on this website, you’ll see more of my writings on these topics, which may help.


  3. J Milliard May 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you Rob for your comment. Lawyers wouldn’t help him. He was told they could’t help. These so called do gooders are the Gov and as the lawyers said above the lawt. Enough said about that.
    Being a senior myself I have taken every precaution that my family and I are protected against these people.
    It is called elder abuse and these people are the worst offenders. Get their homes, money etc. Let them die alone and uncared for.
    As the saying goes what goes around comes around. Their day is coming.

  4. Patrick July 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Does VIHA have absolute lawful authority. If so, how so. and by what body. That body needs to be contacted with these particulars post haste, not with due process of VIHA. VIHA `s Management is questionable. Perhaps the courts need to keep VIHA at bay with this case.

  5. Rob Wipond July 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    The provincial government and provincial Ministry of Health have given VIHA its powers, and therefore have authority over VIHA, but they do not often intervene. Technically, it’s not exactly VIHA that has most of these draconian powers, but doctors, health professionals and police via a few pieces of key legislation like the Mental Health Act and various adult guardianship laws. We’ve also given health professionals the power to regulate themselves (e.g. through the College of Physicians and Surgeons), and these self-regulating bodies notoriously protect their own more than they protect the public. Also, very strong immunity from lawsuits has been written into most of these laws, as long as the health professionals are acting “in good faith”.

    All of this does come back to provincial laws and powers, though. So really the people who should be changing things are our elected representatives in the provincial legislature. But they are the ones who created this situation, and sometimes I suspect they like it this way, because it ensures that problems never reach their level and they themselves are rarely held accountable for what’s happening in health regions.

  6. Patrick July 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    For the immediate need not to be received on high, due to lack of resourcefulness on the part of those who created a field for this situation to fester, would the federal police , RCMP, be able to , with writ, keep away the bodies who are , with impunity, creating the situation….. or am I just beating a drum to tone deafness.

  7. Rob Wipond July 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Are you asking if the RCMP could/would somehow come to the protection of Mia and her family? If that’s your question, the answer is, that would be absolutely unprecedented. Generally, all police forces are at the beck and call of the health professionals in these matters, because the laws give the health professionals those powers. Police may occasionally make their own judgment calls at various points in the process though. For example, sometimes police take a person up to the psychiatric hospital and are annoyed when doctors decide not to detain the person. Or if VIHA really does contact police and declare Mia a “missing person”, it’s unlikely the police would pursue her on those grounds alone since they could easily contact her lawyer and through various means confirm that she is not indeed missing.

  8. Sharon December 1, 2014 at 6:35 am

    My friend lives with me and I care for her with respite visits arranged by VIHA via her case manager. Yesterday i was called to say my friend who was on a wait list for placement now has a place in ladysmith. I hould bring her there Monday morning. My friend is doing well here and this was a complete shock to me and to her. If I do not bring her there when she goes in to the hospital she’ll be detained and kept there to be placed in care. Is there no recourse for a senior who lives at home with 24/7 support from a competent retired RN to stay at home?? Who can negate VIHA’s demand she go into care? help! I’m supposed to bring her in tomorrow.

  9. Rob Wipond December 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

    There’s no simple answer to this. But first off, if your friend has not been officially certified under the Mental Health Act (she would have to have been provided information to that effect) or deemed incapable (there would have to be a court order to that effect), then she still has the right to make her own decisions. Who is her official Representative under the Representation Agreement Act? Who is her guardian if anyone? This person also has authority. Does she have an advance directive? Family? You should contact a seniors advocacy service of some kind or lawyer to discuss the situation in more detail and review what her options are.

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