They were among society’s most vulnerable, two elderly men in failing health and combating severe mental illness. Yet in a university hospital where they should have been receiving the best care available, police say they were smothered to death in their beds.
News that two psychiatric patients at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Hospital were killed and a third assaulted in the space of six days this month has left medical staff in a state of shock, the head of psychiatry said Thursday.
“It should be noted that these patients had lives that were at times difficult. They battled serious mental illnesses,” Dr. Paul Lespérance said.
“To end in this way, for them and their families, causes a very great sorrow, and this feeling is shared by everyone in the department.”
Hospital administrators are on the defensive as details emerge about a patient whose arrest for assault on June 22 aroused suspicions the two deaths — on June 16 and 21 — were not from natural causes, as originally thought.