VCH and CLBC pass buck at expense of Cameron Mannix
By Paul Caune
The case of Cameron Mannix is an example of systemic failure. Cameron has lived with his mother, at home in Squamish, his entire life.
He is a 19-year old man who was born with developmental disabilities. Fourteen months ago, however, he suffered a medical crisis and was admitted to Lion’s Gate Hospital, in North Vancouver, B.C. There he has remained.
Cameron’s mother wants him home.
He has been in the hospital for fourteen months because VCH and Community Living B.C. (the crown corporation which funds services for adults who have developmental disabilities—it was created for this purpose) have failed in their responsibility to put Cameron first. (“People first” is the motto of VCH.)
There’s been a media report about the medical crisis of Cameron Mannix. This column is an attempt to put this report in proper perspective for the benefit of my readers.
Sometime after the admission of Cameron Mannix to Lion’s Gate, he received a tracheotomy. He now needs more help than he needed before he was admitted. This help can be given to him at home. But yet he remains in the hospital.
It is safe to assume that a good reason why is because of false assumptions made by the medical professionals in regards to what is possible and necessary for people with disabilities who have complex needs.
They most likely assumed that the best place for Cameron Mannix to live was not his home, but George Pearson Centre, the only long term residential care facility in VCH which will admit people who have been trached. (VCH has 6,000 residential care beds, but as a matter of policy they will only admit people who are trached to the 114 beds in Vancouver’s George Pearson Centre.)
Based on my personal experience, it is safe to assume that the decision makers at Lion’s Gate do not know it has been the policy of the Government of BC since the 1970′s not to institutionalize children or adults who have developmental disabilities. CLBC, in fact, has approximately 13,700 clients, many of whom have needs as complex as those of Cameron Mannix, and none of them live in long term residential care institutions.
One reason they do not live in institutions for people with developmental disabilities is that all such institutions in BC were shut down two decades ago. They were replaced with community living. It possible that the VCH decision makers know this is true but experience has taught them they can do whatever they want.
Instead of helping Cameron’s mother prepare to bring him home, and to get the services which he needs to live at home successfully, VCH and CLBC have dragged their feet for months and months. They claim that Cameron Mannix, on one or two occasions, pulled out his trach. Therefore, they have tied his wrists to his bed or wheelchair.
I am going to speculate as to why CLBC has dragged its feet. I think it is likely that there has been an unwritten decision by CLBC to not oppose placing of adults with developmental disabilities who have complex needs into long term residential care facilities intended for seniors.
Any CLBC qualified adult with developmental disabilities put into a long term residential care facility means less money which CLBC has to spend, since the residential care would be funded through health care dollars.
VCH and CLBC are trying to pass the buck to each other, at Cameron’s and the taxpayer’s expense. This happens frequently in the best place on Earth.
Paul Caune is the Executive Director of CIVIL RIGHTS NOW! Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or his website