Ethel Lewsey was three days away from her 100th birthday when she died due to complications of COVID-19 at the Maples Personal Care Home.
Her family laid her to rest Tuesday, broken-hearted by what they call a failed system.
“She was a good mother and had been a good mother to me, you know. But she’s gone now and if it wasn’t for COVID and what was going on in that facility, she would still be here today. I don’t know for how much longer but at the end of the day she would be here,” said her son, Lawrence Lewsey.
Lewsey said he found out in the middle of October that there was a COVID-19 positive case in the facility and his mom had tested positive on Oct. 29.
“She lost her appetite. She stopped eating. I do remember a couple of nurses telling me she was cold to touch. Basically she became lethargic and ended up passing away on the second of November,” he said.
Lewsey believes the staff at the facility tried their best but he thinks Revera, the company running Maples, failed staff and residents.
“This nurse came to give me an update and the poor thing her voice was cracking stating how short staffed they were, what they had to go through because of COVID and they weren’t getting any help,” he said.
“COVID’s been around since February. How can you not be prepared for something that’s been around? You know it hits, you know it spreads when it does get in there. You have to have a plan. And there was no plan.”
Lewsey knows it’s too late for his mother but he wants justice for her and the other residents who died at the care home.
“It’s terrible. The remorse, sadness. The remorse — I feel guilty because I put her in that place. I trusted them you know.”
“I blame the leaders in Revera and the government and they need to stand up and hold themselves accountable for the lack of support for both staff and the elderly.”
Lewsey is in the process of formalizing a class action lawsuit against Revera and potentially the Province of Manitoba over the handling of the facility.
“I need someone here to be held accountable, OK. Because there’s no one standing up for these residents, these elderly. Revera has obviously not been supporting their staff, which in turn hurts families and hurts the residents,” he said.
“I’m trying to get the families and members of families who have loved ones in either Parkview or Revera and go after Revera for their lack of support that turned to neglect and killed some of these residents.”
Revera issued a statement Monday night, apologizing and saying they’re doing everything they can to control the spread of COVID-19 in the facility.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says there are teams in place to provide support to Maples staff — the Rapid Response Team and the Canadian Red Cross.
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