When I spent my summer of 1982 in jail for killing two people in a car crash, I spent a couple of months teaching other inmates basic reading – from kindergarten level on up – and then spent a couple of months working the day shift at Participation House in Brantford, cleaning up patient’s shit.
Typically, I’d work 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday, sleep in the office apartment or with some local girl, then work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, and then hitchhike back home to Guelph.
This is how quadriplegics empty their bowels: I would insert a suppository, chat with the dude or dudess for 20 minutes, then the poop would start flowing and I’d clean it up.
It was humbling work.
And we always worried about bedsores.
But while they sat and held his hand nearly every day, an unseen wound festered beneath his bed sheets.
(I’m not dying — yet — but have made a special request for my wife to hold my hand; she’s not interested)
A bedsore had been silently forming on Bob Wilson’s backside, eating away at his flesh until it left a gaping hole bigger than a football.
“We couldn’t believe what we saw,” Moss said.
“It was black, dead, rotted skin. He was basically rotting alive, and we had no idea.”
Eric Vandewall, president of Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, located about 60 kilometres southwest of Toronto, said he personally apologized to Wilson and his family for what happened, and staff are investigating.
“We are currently conducting a comprehensive and thorough review of Mr. Wilson’s care while he was at Joseph Brant Hospital and we will hold further meetings with Mr. Wilson’s family to share and discuss the results of our review,” he said.
‘It’s to the bone, and it’s pretty horrific’
Wilson, who is 77, fell in November and suffered a brain injury.
“It’s devastating,” said Moss. “It’s torture, and we felt a sense of guilt, because if [we’d known], we could have helped turn him, or something.
“What baffles us is how could a medical team and several people … put a Band-Aid over black, dead, rotted skin and not raise the flag?”
Vandewall said the hospital’s routine for immobile patients includes turning them daily and checking for pressure ulcers.
Um, we did that 40 years ago.