B.C. Woman With Disability Dies Alone in Hospital Due to COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions – Accessibility News International
By John Hua
Global News, April 24, 2020
The family of a B.C. woman with a disability is calling for an investigation after she died alone at the Peace Arch Hospital.
In life, Ariis Knight’s family says she defied limitations.
The 40-year-old had cerebral palsy and was non-verbal, but found her own way to communicate with her family and support workers.
“She had a full range of facial expressions,” her brother David Knight told Global News.
“She was able to answer yes or no questions not with her voice but with her eyes.”
Ariis was admitted to hospital April 15 with symptoms of congestion, fever and vomiting but did not have COVID-19.
Her support staff were not permitted access due to restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She was never given the opportunity to have someone speak up for her in her time of need,” said David.
Not long after being admitted, Ariis was put on end-of-life care, and died days later.
Her family alleges the hospital moved her to palliative care status without consulting them, and that Ariis couldn’t have consented, given her inability to speak.
David said he’s having difficulty processing how she felt alone in her final moments.
Under normal circumstances, support staff from the Semiahmoo House Society would have accompanied clients in hospital around to clock.