Mother calls for stricter actions after nurses suspended at Saanich care home for disabled residents
VICTORIA -- A mother is speaking out following the suspension of two nurses at a Saanich care home, where her son with complex needs lived for 300 days.
"He was treated like an object," says Edith Artner from her home in Vancouver.
She only wants to identify her now-24-year-old son by his middle name, Finn.
Finn is blind, non-verbal and has complex needs requiring 24/7 support. In 2017/2018, while living in residential care at Saanich’s Garth Homer Society (GHS) for people with developmental disabilities, Artner says her son wasn’t properly cared for.
For example, she says he was given food he can’t eat in defiance of a doctor’s report and that he suffered increased corneal scarring under the supervision of two currently suspended nurses.
"I kind of put a lot of trust into this investigation and I expected more," says Artner.
In disciplinary notices by the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives, Euphemia Guttin and Victoria Weber were the subjects of years-long investigations following complaints from three families. Artner is among them.
The inquiry committee found Weber and Guttin were dismissive of parent concerns. Among other findings, the committee found Guttin didn’t ensure the proper policies were in place for the residential housing program – and Weber restricted the ability of some staff to contact health professionals about their clients.
While the notices say the nurses don’t agree with every finding made by the inquiry committee, they both admit to breaching nursing standards.
As a result, Guttin is suspended for 15 months and Weber for 18 months.
Both are still employed by GHS in administrative roles. In a statement, the society says: "Ms. Guttin and Ms. Weber continue to be integral members of the Garth Homer team and have our full support and confidence."
"We note that in its public notices on the suspensions as registered nurses that the college stated the inquiry committee was 'satisfied that the terms will protect the public,'" said the facility.
Artner wants an apology and to see more restrictions against them.
"I don’t want them to be responsible for vulnerable people," says Artner.
One parent has also filed a civil suit following the death of her daughter in GHS care. The claims have not been tested in court. The trial is slated for October 2022.