Chief Coroner for Quebec investigating CHLSD COVID-19 Deaths. Over 31 seniors died at the CHLSD senior’s home
The Chief Coroner for Quebec, Pascale Descary, has ordered a large public inquiry into certain deaths that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in CHLSDs, private residences for seniors and other accommodation for vulnerable or loss of autonomy people. This entirely public process will allow the Quebec population to be informed of the facts raised during the hearings and to follow the reflection on this important social issue.
The coroner and lawyer Géhane Kamel was appointed to preside over this inquiry. Given the complexity of the subject and the large number of deaths, a coroner with medical training, Dr Jacques Ramsay, will be appointed to assist and enlighten Mr Kamel throughout the process.
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.
Thus, to be analyzed as part of the investigation, the selected deaths must meet the following criteria:
- the death occurred while the person was living in a CHSLD, a private seniors’ residence or a place of accommodation for vulnerable people or people losing their autonomy;
- the death occurred during the period from March 12 to May 1, 2020;
- the death was the subject of a notice to the coroner because of its violent, obscure nature or because it is possibly linked to negligence.
Kamel is already responsible for investigating the deaths at CHSLD Herron in Dorval, which will form the basis of this investigation. 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 in several regions in order to paint a representative portrait of the situation at the provincial level.
Once the causes and circumstances of each death have been established, Kamel will be able to broaden the reflection on the subject, in particular by hearing witnesses and privileged actors in the accommodation of elderly people in Quebec. These steps will ultimately allow Kamel to make recommendations in order to avoid further deaths and protect human life.
Details of the investigation and the date of the first hearings will be released later.