CHSLD Herron, the Dorval-based long-term care home that hard hit by the COVID 19 pandemic’s first wave last year, will not be facing any criminal charges as a result of the tragic deaths of dozens of its residents during that first wave.
CBC News has reported that in a statement issued by Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPC), it stated that after reviewing the findings made by the police and expert testimony delivered by a number of medical experts, there was not enough evidence to charge Katasa Group, which owns CHSLD Herron.
The long-term care home made headlines during the spring of 2020, when at least 38 residents died there between March 26 and April 16, with 23 of those residents who died between April 5 to10. The West Island CIUSSS health authority took control of the home on March 29 by request of the owners, who said that the facility was experiencing a significant shortage of staff. When health care workers were sent to Herron to provide relief, they found it in a dire state of disrepair, with only three employees looking after a total of 133 residents, who were found to be lacking food, water and basic care. As well, there piles of unwashed dishes, and an overwhelming odour of urine and feces in the air.
Premier Francois Legault, during a recent news conference, said that although the decision to levy criminal charges was out of his control, he pledged to make sure that necessary changes will be introduced to the home care system, so that another incident that was similar to what happened at the CHSLD Herron will never occur again.
Public hearings about what happened at CHSLD Herron during the first wave of the pandemic were scheduled to begin this past February, but were delayed until the DCPC rendered a decision regarding the laying of charges. Now that the decision has been made, hearings will commence in September.
One person who was disappointed at the DCPC’s decision was Patricia Di Biase, whose mother was a resident at the home during that period, but managed to survive the horrific ordeal, and will receive part of the $5.5 million settlement that was reached this past May.
“The money does not replace the suffering everybody went through,” said Ms. Di Biase.