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

Hospitalizations jump in Red Deer due to opioid poisonings

Small city hospitals impacted more by opioid crisis

Central Alberta councils learn more about Bighorn Country proposal

A collection of central Alberta politicians are learning more about the province’s… Continue reading

High-speed chase led to fatal collision, jury hears

A Delburne man accused of manslaughter caused a fatal rollover collision during… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Online ads spoil Christmas surprises, raising privacy concerns: experts

Lisa Clyburn knew she had found the perfect gift for her nine-year-old… Continue reading

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Adriana Leon up for top CONCACAF awards

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio are up for CONCACAF male… Continue reading

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has named striker Jordyn Huitema and defender Derek… Continue reading

Review: Too much Spider-Man? Not in the Spider-Verse

You might be forgiven for feeling superhero overload this holiday season. Had… Continue reading

‘Modern Family’s’ Sarah Hyland had second kidney transplant

LOS ANGELES — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland says she had a… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Most Read