Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Quadriplegic Man Opts For Assisted Death After Suffering Horrific Bedsores During ER Stay

In January, Normand Meunier was transported to the hospital in Saint-Jerome, Quebec, after developing a respiratory infection. He would eventually develop a severe bedsore, one that would cause him to seek out assisted death.

The 66-year-old man had worked as a truck driver for nearly his entire life – up until 2022 when a spinal cord injury caused him to become quadriplegic.

Before he was admitted to the ICU for his third respiratory virus this winter, he was left on a stretcher in the ER for four days.

meunier
The former truck driver developed an agonizing pressure sore after being left on a stretcher in the emergency room for 95 hours

Without access to a pressure-alternating mattress, Meunier ultimately developed a pressure sore on his buttocks, according to his partner, Sylvie Brosseau.

Over time, the sore worsened to the point where muscle and bone were visible and exposed, making his prognosis bleak.

His partner Brosseau said that it was unacceptable for the hospital to have left him on a stretcher for ninety-five hours. This is especially true in Normand’s case as he is a quadriplegic and requires a special mattress.

Without access to a pressure-alternating mattress, a patient’s position must be changed every few hours to prevent bedsores, which can occur due to the hyper-pressure between skin and bone, according to retired geriatrician Jean-Pierre Beauchemin.

normand meunier
Normand Meunier suffered a spinal injury in 2022, which left him paralyzed in the arms and legs

What’s worse, is that pressure sores can develop in as little as 24 hours and can take several months to heal. The most vulnerable body parts include the buttocks, knees, elbows, and heels.

According to a reference sheet by the Quebec Health Ministry, patients who are confined to bed must be rotated every two hours.

For Meunier, this wasn’t his first pressure sore; he had developed others on his heel during prior hospitalizations. However, they were not nearly as disabling as the one he developed in Saint-Jerome Hospital.

Prior to his death, he told media outlets that he had decided to opt for a medically assisted death as he no longer wanted to undergo such suffering – both physically and psychologically.

meunier and partner
His partner Brosseau was told that the hospital did not have the special mattress that he needed

Doctors had told him that his pressure sore, which was several centimeters in diameter, would take some months to heal.

Before that, he had undergone two debridements in attempts to remove infected and dead tissue from the wound. However, the sore continued to affect his quality of life.

He eventually died at home on March 29.

The director general of RAPLIQ, a Quebec advocate group for those with disabilities, described the case as ‘a crying shame’. He said the hospital was ‘negligent to say the least’ and questioned why they were unable to get the proper mattress for the patient.

He described it as ‘a lack of professionalism’ and believes Meunier may still be alive if they had done something about the situation.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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