Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Beth MacLean, right, the woman at the centre of a human rights case dealing with persons with disabilities and their attempts to move out of institutions, and Jo-Anne Pushie, MacLean’s former social worker, arrive at the inquiry in Halifax on Tuesday.

N.S. woman with intellectual disability recounts quest for release from hospital

HALIFAX — A woman with intellectual disabilities who languished for 15 years in a Nova Scotia psychiatric ward testified Tuesday that a plan to house her in the community was repeatedly set aside.

Beth MacLean told a human rights inquiry that caregivers at the Nova Scotia Hospital in Halifax were aware she could be moved into a smaller home one year after her admission in the fall of 2000.

Instead, she was transferred to a more restricted, acute-care unit in the same hospital, almost seven years later.

“I was supposed to (leave) after one year, and they kept me longer,” said MacLean, who has a speech impediment.

MacLean’s words were repeated to the chairman of the inquiry by her advocate and former social worker, Jo-Anne Pushie, who sat beside her as she testified.

“I told them. They wouldn’t listen to me,” said MacLean.

The 46-year-old said she remained in a locked ward where she seldom left her room.

“I did not like Emerald Hall … It was a shithole,” she said under questioning from her lawyer, Vince Calderhead, who helped launch the human rights complaint in 2014.

She was eventually transferred to a smaller facility in Halifax in 2016.

The inquiry is considering whether MacLean’s human rights, along with those of 45-year-old Joseph Delaney, were breached when the province refused to move them from hospital-like settings into small homes where assistance is provided for meals, mental health and other care.

The complaint includes the story of Sheila Livingstone, a woman in her late 60s who died after being transferred to a facility in Yarmouth — 300 kilometres from her family — more than a decade after she was placed in the Nova Scotia Hospital.

As for MacLean’s case, she was first housed by the province at the Kings Residential Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville, N.S., when she was 14.

She told the inquiry that as the years passed, she felt her freedom was too restricted.

MacLean also recalled visiting a so-called small-options home, saying this was the kind of home she had longed for.

According to her original complaint, MacLean was admitted to the Halifax-area hospital in October 2000 after she assaulted a staff person at the rehabilitation centre. She said the outburst stemmed from her frustration with having been stuck there since 1986.

The inquiry also heard from Tammy Delaney, the sister of Joey Delaney, who is unable to testify due to difficulties speaking.

She recalled how some of the happiest years of her brother’s life were spent at a small-options home in Dartmouth, N.S., where he had his own bedroom.

“It was like a home …They would make coffee … and they threw birthdays and had Christmas and Easter gatherings,” she said.

However, an illness forced Joey Delaney into a hospital in 2010. He was later taken to live at the Nova Scotia Hospital.

Delaney cried as she recalled how her brother would make gestures indicating he wanted to leave.

Under cross examination by Dorianne Mullin, a lawyer representing the province, Tammy Delaney was asked if she was aware that her brother had shown aggressive behaviours while at the small-options home.

Tammy Delaney said she was unaware of that report.

Just Posted

Photos: Children enjoy petting animals near Red Deer Sunday

Children and families learned about various animals and birds at a petting… Continue reading

Search for missing Tofino boaters scaled back, handed over to RCMP

TOFINO, B.C. — Jae Valentine woke to the sound of wolves howling… Continue reading

Get ready for the ‘internet of cows’: Farmers use technology to shake up agriculture

MONTREAL — Get ready for the “internet of cows.” Generations of farmers… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer cadets conclude year of learning

After a year of hard work, Red Deer’s local Air and Army… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Alberta High School Soccer League champs crowned

Lindsay Thurber girls’ team and Notre Dame boys’ team won Saturday at Edgar Park Field in Red Deer

5 dead as SUV chased by Border Patrol crashes in South Texas

BIG WELLS, Texas — At least five people were killed and several… Continue reading

Ramifications of a trade war: an expert look at the numbers for Canada

OTTAWA — A new analysis of escalating trade disputes involving the United… Continue reading

Deliberate spill: study launched to test crude and bitumen impact on lake life

KENORA, Ont. — Researchers were in northwestern Ontario over the weekend spilling… Continue reading

Two-spirit N.B. First Nation chief says his election points to progress

FREDERICTON — The new leader of a New Brunswick First Nation said… Continue reading

Google diversity report: Black women make up only 1.2 percent of its US workforce

Google released its annual workforce diversity report Thursday, marking only modest changes… Continue reading

Brazil held to 1-1 draw by Switzerland at World Cup

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Brazil joined the list of big teams struggling to… Continue reading

Canada’s Auger-Aliassime wins Sopra Steria title for 2nd straight year

LYON, France — Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime defended his ATP Challenger Sopra Steria… Continue reading

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

MOSCOW — The suspect in a taxi crash near Red Square that… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month