Federal lawyer defends role of Veterans Affairs in Nova Scotia inquiry into deaths by Afghanistan war veteran

Federal lawyer defends role of Veterans Affairs in Nova Scotia inquiry into deaths by Afghanistan war veteran

Federal lawyer defends role of Veterans Affairs in Nova Scotia inquiry into deaths by Afghanistan war veteran

The Desmond Fatality Inquiry is currently being held at the Guysborough Municipal creating in Nova Scotia on Nov. 18, 2019.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Push

A Nova Scotia inquiry investigating why a former Afghanistan war veteran killed his spouse and children and himself in 2017 listened to Tuesday from a federal lawyer who defended the do the job of Veterans Affairs Canada.

Lori Ward advised the inquiry it would be completely wrong to blame the federal section for the deaths of Lionel Desmond his 31-yr-aged spouse, Shanna their 10-calendar year-old daughter, Aaliyah and Mr. Desmond’s 52-year-aged mom, Brenda.

“It would be so quick to lay every thing at the toes of Veterans Affairs,” she mentioned in her closing submission to the inquiry, which was expected to conclude general public hearings on Wednesday. “There’s a narrative that is perpetuated about an uncaring paperwork.”

Mr. Desmond served in Afghanistan as an infantryman in 2007 and was identified with publish-traumatic strain problem and key depression in 2011. He was medically unveiled from the military in July 2015 soon after receiving 4 yrs of remedy.

Ms. Ward drew notice to the work of Veterans Affairs worker Marie-Paule Doucette, who was appointed as Mr. Desmond’s situation supervisor the moment he remaining the armed service. Ms. Doucette, Ms. Ward stated, made each and every energy to aid him offer with stress by using compassion and empathy, even while the case manager had a significant workload.

Ms. Ward claimed Ms. Doucette manufactured special requests to ensure Mr. Desmond acquired funding to cover the charge of vacation for an intensive remedy program at Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Montreal. As properly, she drove Mr. Desmond to the airport for that trip and, at a person point, met with him in individual all through her holiday vacation.

“Lionel Desmond had accessibility to the ideal treatment at this time,” Ms. Ward mentioned.

Ms. Ward also built a place of listing the many treatment plans Mr. Desmond been given in the armed forces and immediately after he left, declaring the care he obtained at the federally funded Operational Tension Injuries Clinic in Fredericton was regarded as the “gold standard” at the time.

On April 20, 2021, nevertheless, the inquiry listened to testimony from a manager at Veterans Affairs, Lee Marshall, who reported it took the division six months to appoint Ms. Doucette as scenario manager, a time lag that he agreed was not appropriate.

As properly, the inquiry read Mr. Desmond was even now a desperately sick male when he still left the mental health and fitness cure plan in Montreal on Aug. 15, 2016, and then returned dwelling to Higher Massive Tracadie, N.S.

At that time, Ms. Doucette asked for to stay as Mr. Desmond’s situation manager, even nevertheless he had moved from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, to assure his continuity of treatment, Ms. Ward said.

But there were much more issues. Throughout the past four months of his lifestyle, Mr. Desmond acquired no therapeutic procedure, despite Ms. Doucette’s efforts. Ms. Ward pointed out that Mr. Desmond at times missed appointments and unsuccessful to adhere to up with well being care suppliers.

At the time, Mr. Desmond necessary a functional assessment and a neuropsychological evaluation, but that hardly ever happened.

Ms. Ward argued that Ms. Doucette was occasionally thwarted in her efforts to enable her customer for the reason that Mr. Desmond declined provides for guidance, in particular if it meant travelling to Halifax, a a few-hour drive from his household around Guysborough, N.S.

Amongst August 2016 and January 2017, Mr. Desmond’s mental wellness deteriorated, the inquiry listened to.

“To say there was a hole in his procedure upon his discharge from Ste. Anne’s would be an understatement,” the inquiry’s direct counsel, Allen Murray, informed the hearing Tuesday.

All through that very important period of time, Mr. Desmond sought aid from two area hospitals in jap Nova Scotia, but the medical doctors he met were being unable to get his federal health data, which evidently spelled out just how sick he was.

“The depth and complexity of his psychological wellbeing troubles simply cannot be overstated,” Mr.Murray stated.

Ms. Ward argued that federal privateness rules had to be revered. And she insisted that Mr. Desmond could have easily acquired his possess health and fitness information, even with his mental wellness troubles, which incorporated a moderate cognitive impairment.

At an previously listening to, a Nova Scotia psychiatrist who approved Mr. Desmond as a affected person in 2016 explained the former soldier appeared to be slipping by the cracks in the health care method in late 2016.

Ms. Ward challenged that check out.

“In truth, far from falling by means of the cracks at Veterans Affairs, Mr. Desmond’s selection to decrease treatment [in Halifax] and to attempt to locate community supports in rural Nova Scotia amounted to a substantial crack that Ms. Doucette and others were carrying out their best to have him navigate apparent of,” she stated.

“Ms. Doucette is a particular person who went out of her way for Mr. Desmond, and nonetheless she was questioned (by an inquiry law firm) if she felt contrition just after he killed his family members. Are you kidding me?”

In contrast, Mr. Murray stated Tuesday it was obvious Mr. Desmond had fallen into a “treatment void” that still left him unable to get better from a “downward spiral.”

On a different front, the inquiry acquired that Mr. Desmond turned increasingly paranoid about his wife’s fidelity, and he also turned extra managing, although there was no evidence of physical abuse.

“What the inquiry has listened to is that, frequently, specialists may possibly not have fully grasped the several red flags for the risk of severe domestic violence or domestic murder,” Mr. Murray claimed.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Mr. Desmond legally bought a semi-computerized rifle. Later on that working day, he applied it to fatally shoot his relatives and himself in their rural house.

“His actions were the products of a harmed psyche and a tortured soul,” Mr. Murray explained. “It’s a story of skipped possibilities. It’s a story of information and facts that was siloed and went unshared. It’s a story of quite a few caring experts who wished to assist, but ultimately could not.”

Other legal professionals included in the provincial fatality inquiry have been anticipated to make their remaining submissions Wednesday.

The gentleman foremost the inquiry, provincial court Decide Warren Zimmer, is anticipated to make a closing report with findings and recommendations this tumble.

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