Group urges Quebec to respect patients’ rights during COVID-19 pandemic

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MONTREAL — A Quebec patients’ rights group is urging the province to respect the fundamental rights of seniors living in care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter dated Friday and addressed to Health Minister Danielle McCann and Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais, the Conseil pour la protection des malades says it has received hundreds of complaints from patients and citizens in connection with the confinement measures imposed on vulnerable seniors.

The letter, signed by lawyer Paul Brunet, says COVID-19 does not mean patients can be stripped of their fundamental rights to life, freedom of movement, security and dignity.

That includes access to medical treatment, being allowed to leave with precautions in place, not being housed with infected people, being fed, changed and given water, and not being forced to die alone.

The group is calling on the province to provide a safe environment for caregivers, to allow surgeries and medical procedures to resume, and to inspect the ventilation systems of establishments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It also says patients and rights committees have the right to know how many people are infected at their establishments.

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