Lack of dignity for husband who died in emergency room: 'It's a profound lack of humanity,' angers grieving widow

Lack of dignity for husband who died in emergency room: 'It's a profound lack of humanity,' angers grieving widow

A 49-year-old nurse speaks of the lack of dignity following the sudden death of her husband at the Royal Victoria Hospital last year, where the family saw him naked and lying in his own faeces as no staff cleaned up the remains or found a suitable space for them to contemplate.

“There was no tenderness or respect for my husband’s body,” says Isabel Granito. It's terrible. “It is a profound lack of humanity.”

A year after the sudden death of Jack Richard, 52, his ex-wife, an emergency room nurse on Montreal's North Shore, isn't taking things seriously.

Richard Jack, 52, died of a heart attack at MUHC (Royal Victoria) in January 2023. His wife laments the poor circumstances in which the family were able to see him after his death, which lacked humanity. Courtesy Isabel Granito Courtesy Isabel Granito

Photo courtesy of Isabel Granito

“They didn't help me at all! The people of Saint-Jérôme, who has 26 years of experience, protest. It was a nightmare.”

No room available?

“I would never leave someone dead like that in my career,” she insists.

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Mr. Richard, an engineer, collapsed shortly after midnight on January 8, 2023, during an evening in Montreal. The man was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he suffered a heart attack. Resuscitation measures could not save him.

At the site, his relatives saw him for the last time in the recovery room, naked (his jacket had been removed) in his own feces and vomit and still under the tube, M recounts.I Granito. The ground was also filled with garbage.

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“They never gave us a room so we could meditate […] Once the body is clean,” she swears, adding that she asked for a room and help.

“They told me: No one is responsible tonight, we are all responsible [infirmières d’] Agencies,” recounts the widow, who was told that all the rooms were occupied.

With the help of one of the escorts, whom she describes as “brutal,” M. was able to…I Granito said she cleaned her husband herself. The 49-year-old later lamented that staff had rushed the remains away for tissue donation.

Disgust for his profession

A year after the tragedy, M. said:I Granito was suffering from depression and said he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. You don't know when you will be able to return to work.

“I can't even go to the emergency room anymore,” she admits. It is not a matter of will. It's disgust for my career, my career, and what happened.

Emergency death

Archive photo, QMI Agency

She plans to file a complaint and initiate legal proceedings against McGill University Health Center (MUHC).

MUHC declined to comment on this specific case, but responded via email that typically, after a resuscitation attempt, “the body is washed, covered with a sheet, and placed in a room designated for families, so the family can spend time with their loved one.”

It is added that sometimes people may find themselves faced with a patient who has not yet been cleaned, but is then asked to come out to clean.

“There is nothing that has been respected,” M swearsI Granito. “This cannot remain silent.”

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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