Right in the centre - Maybe it’s time to step forward


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

 There will be many lingering after-effects of COVID-19. Certainly the most heart-wrenching is the deaths. Over 800 people in Manitoba have died in the year C-19 has been with us. That is just over two people per day, no less sad, but it is important to look at the context. About 30 people per day die annually in Manitoba. The death rate for Manitoba for 2020 is reported to have been 11,226, for 2019, 1,127 and for 2018, 11,121. Considering we lost 800 people to C-19, the overall death rate only went up by 99, so obviously C-19 did not raise the death rate by much. 

C-19 is very serious, but could the situation have been handled differently? The first thing that comes to mind is some care homes needed more staff. I think it could also be argued that, as Christine Waddell put forward in this space last week, a lot of stress could have been reduced had volunteers and family members been tested and mobilized for this battle.

 I think it must be acknowledged that many of the C-19 victims died alone, lonely confused and maybe even, in some cases, neglected.

 Some people were aghast that some care homes called in ambulance crews. My only criticism is that they should have called in the ambulances several days earlier. They waited until people were dying off in small groups. I think that was a big mistake.

 In addition, there were several stories of care home residents who became dehydrated to the point they needed IV fluids. It appears that few, if any, care homes offer that option so if that is the case, should not dehydration cases be hospitalized?  

 The majority of C-19 deaths happened among care home residents. One has to wonder how many could have had their lives extended if a higher level of care, especially remedial care, had been applied. It’s one thing to die of natural causes, of heart attack or stroke, but it is quite another to die of neglect. I doubt that we will ever know the truth, or at least not all of it, but I am quite concerned that bureaucratic rules may have prevented staff from doing what they know should have been done. I doubt there is a care home worker who doesn’t want the best for those in their care and they shouldn’t be thwarted by bureaucratic rules.

So, here I am going to break from a rule myself. We have always insisted that we have to source our stories with quotes from real people who are willing to put their names to the quotes. In this case, if anyone, be it care home residents, staff or families have stories about situations in care homes that could have been handled better in your mind, please email me and unless you want us to, we won’t use your name. I believe there are dozens of stories out there and if those stories will improve our health care system and give people more quality of life days, then I would like to hear them and publish them. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in full confidence.