Remember all that terrible re-open the country talk because Grandma is willing to sacrifice her life for the economy? I know it seems like forever ago, but it was just a couple of weeks ago when we told you about how Bethany is proud to be a Grandma Killer. Poor Bethany just couldn’t stay locked down and needed to get to a Zoo or a museum. She wasn’t the only one. Politicians were screaming about getting the economy open. It was all over the news:
The lieutenant governor of Texas argued in an interview on Fox News Monday night that the United States should go back to work, saying grandparents like him don’t want to sacrifice the country’s economy during the coronavirus crisis.USA Today
“My message: let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves,” Lt Gov Dan Patrick, a 69-year-old Republican, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night.
“Don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick said. “Don’t do that.”The Guardian
After the lieutenant governor’s bizarre vow, Carlson wanted to make sure he had it all correct: “So you’re basically saying that this disease could take your life but that’s not the the scariest thing to you. There’s something that would be worse than dying.” Patrick agreed with his summary.NYMag
Wow, a lousy economy would be worse than death? Not only would Grandparents rather DIE than see stalled economic growth, but grandchildren would rather have their Granny disposed of in a mass grave on Hart Island than let multi-national corporations suffer a slow-down in manufacturing. Everyone seems to agree that Boomers are expendable and might as well be removed for the ‘Public Good’.
Marissa Lennox, chief policy officer for CARP warns about how the pandemic is leading to an increase in bias against older people.
“I think COVID-19 has brought the ageists out in force,” said Lennox. She deplores the use of the phrase “boomer remover” that she says has swept social media.
Even worse, she says, some medical authorities around the world are discussing putting an age limit on who gets treatment, which she sees as an implication that seniors are expendable.
Any rhetoric around sacrificing the ‘old’ for the sake of the economy is purely ageist, and it is dangerous,” said Lennox.CBC
More than a few older people have rejected Patrick’s idea that they should sacrifice their lives to protect the economy.
He didn’t reckon on some older Texans’ stubborn attachment to being alive.
The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, for instance, wants him to know they’re not ready to follow him into that good night. They’re old, but would very much like the chance to get even older, thanks very much, regardless of what that does to anyone’s stock portfolio. Some of them would like to stick around and see how their grandkids get on in the looming recession, maybe even lend support.Dallas Observer
A crisis can reveal what a person is made of. It can show who we, and others, truly are. When we talk about the cure being worse than the disease, what are we really saying? Is the disease infecting people or is it infecting the economy? Is the cure for the economy to allow Covid-19 to remove Boomers? The targets in this battle are getting obscured in the ageist pro-economy rhetoric.
Whatever the case, our most vulnerable older people, those that live in long term care facilities, are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. They are dying of Covid-19, just as we expected, but its far more than that. Many in long term care homes have been abandoned and left to die horrific deaths. The situation has been revealed in Canada, but do not make the mistake that this is merely a Canadian problem. These atrocities are likely replicated everywhere that vulnerable populations are being cared for in institutional facilities.
The first hint of a problem occurred in a facility in the Province of Quebec. The nursing home was infected with Covid-19 after a single employee had returned home from a holiday. Then, a resident of another facility had a visit from an infected relative that had also returned from holidays abroad. Yet another facility suffered an outbreak after a family reunion. That is all it took. Shortly afterwards, at least 1000 residents of nursing homes were dead.
Nursing home employees were rapidly becoming infected. There was a shortage of PPE. Infected staff often worked at more than one residence and they spread the infection from one nursing home to the next. Infected workers claim they were told to keep working. Soon more than 80 nursing homes had outbreaks.
Thousands of healthcare workers were either unable to go to work due to illness or had abandoned their jobs. That is when things started to deteriorate. Elders were being brought to hospital, not due to infection, but because they were dying of hunger and thirst. No one was available to take care of them.
The military was asked to send medics to care for the elderly residents, which they did. Soon, it was discovered that help was needed in the neighboring Province of Ontario, so the military went there as well. Ontario has 150 long term care facilities with Covid-19 outbreaks. Altogether, the military is assisting in 5 care homes in Ontario, and 25 care homes in Quebec. That is all they have the resources for. Over 1000 military members are caring for elders.
The military has now reported that the conditions within the 5 Ontario nursing homes are dire. Each of these 5 homes may be criminally charged for negligence. The Premier of Ontario, Rob Ford described the military’s allegations as: “the worst report, the most heart-wrenching report I have ever read in my entire life”.
The military claims that the homes are unhygienic and dangerous.
Repeated use of medical equipment between COVID-19 patients and others who had not tested positive, without it being disinfected.
Improper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by staff and doctors.
Housing of COVID-19 patients with residents who had not tested positive.
Staff reusing gloves or not washing hands between resident interactions.
Staff being aggressive with residents during medical procedures.
Residents calling for help with no response for up to two hours.
The presence of insects, including cockroaches and ants.CBC
More specific allegations include:
- Reusing hypodermoclysis supplies “even after sterility has been obviously compromised”
- Inadequate dosing intervals for some medications
- CAF reported nearly a dozen incidents of “bleeding fungal infections” due to poor peri-catheterization care
- The facility is understaffed during the day and new staff haven’t been trained or oriented
- Nurses and PSWs observed not changing PPE for several hours while moving between patient rooms
- Topical prescription medicine shared between residents
- Wound care supplies “insufficient or locked away”
- Inappropriate use of PPE by all staffing levels, including doctors
- Staff put food and important belongings outside of residents’ reach
- Lack of linens and laundry resulted in patients sleeping on bare mattresses
- Multiple falls without required assessments
- Patients were moved into rooms that were not cleaned due to miscommunications
- A non-verbal resident wrote a letter alleging “neglect and abuse by a PSW”
- Safety concerns regarding the clinical skills of staff
- Insufficient wound care materials and supplies
- The current staff to patient ratio does not allow for care beyond “the most basic daily requirements.”
- Staff members avoid shrouding or providing post-mortem care to deceased patients and leave it to military staff
This list of allegations is sanitized compared to the detailed report that described bed sores, patients laying in their own excrement, reuse of un-sterilized catheters and other medical devices, starvation and dehydration.
For the last few months, everyone was worried about there being enough ICU beds, or enough ventilators. All the focus was on the general hospitals and infirmaries where it was expected that resources would be stretched beyond capacity. The focus was on ourselves, and not the most vulnerable people that were impacted by Covid-19. The residents of the nursing homes were not just expendable during a pandemic, but they have been considered expendable for a long time. Their care has been underfunded, understaffed, and under-regulated in private-public partnerships that have been lucrative for private enterprise.
Again, do not be pacified into believing that this is a Canadian problem. This is a problem that is happening around the world. It may be happening down the street from you. US nursing homes are experiencing the same struggles.
Is this what dying for the good of the economy means? Underfunded care has been going on for a long time–to save the economy. Thanks for the sacrifice Grandma. The multinational corporations have a lot of respect for you.