Letter by Dr. Jasmine Gilani and Silvia Valdman, LL.B. Regarding Patient Access at Welland, ON Hospital

RE: Access to Patient Mr. Suhar Valdman,
Welland Hospital
65 Third St.
Welland ON
L3B 4W6

To Whom It May Concern, June 22,2020

Mr. Suhar Valdman is currently a patient in your hospital. His wife, Mrs. Valdman was given a paltry 30 min window to spend with her beloved husband today. She requested more time to feed him lunch and was denied. Mr. Valdman’s only daughter Silvia, was informed by hospital staff that she will not be allowed to see her father unless he is on his death bed.

Silvia and I represent a large group of activists in Canada. We are horrified by the draconian policy of this hospital and many other hospitals in Ontario under the pretext of patient safety. This is especially perplexing given the memorandum issued on June 15 by Dr. David Williams (Chief Medical Officer of Health). Dr. Williams recommended that all public and private hospitals allow visitations from family and caregivers. According to Dr. Williams, “Visits from family and caregivers and other visitors contribute greatly to a patient’s quality of life and well-being.”

Let’s examine the data. According to the CDC, the infection fatality rate from COVID-19 is 0.26% and likely lower as up to 80% of cases are mild or asymptomatic. According to the WHO there is no evidence of asymptomatic transmission of the SarsCov2 virus. There is a well documented study to support this as well as other anecdotal studies. 63% of deaths in Ontario occurred in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs).

It is important to heed these deaths in Ontario’s LTCF and elucidate their causes. On May 20, Brigadier General Commander C.J.J. Mialkowski submitted a gruesome report on five of Ontario’s LTCFs. The details are overt in proving that neglect and abuse of the residents was rampant.

Here are some of the disturbing details:

-verbal abuse and aggressive behaviour by caretakers

-significant gross fecal contamination

-insect infestation

-delayed changing of soiled residents

-forceful feeding and hydration causing audible chocking /aspiration

-patients crying for help with staff not responding until after 30 min to 2 hours

-residents not bathed for several weeks

Would these conditions have festered if these vulnerable residents were allowed to have visitation from family members? In addition, the report states the following: “NO psychosocial support for these residents who have all of a sudden had their families taken away, anxiety and depression being treated with narcotics and benzodiazepenes to sedate them.”

Residents reported to have felt, “Scared and feel alone like they’re in jail.”

Despite wide-spread knowledge of this report Welland Hospital is refusing Mr. Valdman the love and care of his wife and daughter during the most vulnerable time in his life. Mr. Valdman survived the Nazi occupation in Romania. Now, nearing the end of his life he is the victim of medical tyranny. The extreme stress and anxiety of his immediate family is a consequence of his unjust treatment.

Furthermore, in the complex matter of advocating for a patient’s rights, and treatment decisions, it is very difficult to do so remotely, family members need to be able to assess the patient in person and discuss matters with care providers in person.

We have read the accounts of many people whose loved ones died in isolation deprived of love, care and compassion. Is this not a crime against humanity? How many people in Ontario hospitals and LTCFs have died alone?

We demand the immediate access to Mr. Valdman by his beloved wife and daughter. They are both willing to wear PPE at the standard of other workers in the hospital who have access to patients.

We look forward to a quick resolution of this matter.


Dr. Jasmine Gilani and Silvia Valdman, LL.B.

Silvia Valdman’s cell: 289-241-1000