Father takes Wakefield, Quebec hospital protest up a notch

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by Trevor Greenway on June 10, 2010

Jean-Paul Brisebois has been parking his truck in front of the hospital to pressure them to release his daughter Valerie's medical records.

Jean-Paul Brisebois has been parking his truck in front of the hospital to pressure them to release his daughter Valerie's medical records.

Despite receiving a letter threatening legal action and a visit from an MRC des Collines Police officer, Jean-Paul Brisebois is not backing down in his fight against the Wakefield Memorial Hospital to retrieve his late daughter’s records.

“I have been waiting for three months, today,” said Brisebois June 7. “And I won’t stop until I get the papers.”

Brisebois was parked in front of the Wakefield hospital on June 5 and 6, displaying a large sign with his daughter Valerie’s picture and a lengthy message asking why the hospital refuses to give him the documents. The message on the sign questions why it is “hiding” the records and urges residents to refrain from donating to the hospital.

Brisebois spent almost an hour parked on Burnside Road directly in front of the building at 9 p.m. on June 6 before a police cruiser pulled up and asked him to move his car. Officers really couldn’t do anything, as he was parked on a municipal road and not on hospital property. Police did ask him to move his vehicle slightly, as it was encroaching on the roadway, but Brisebois said he was leaving, anyway.

Wakefield Memorial Hospital Director Andre Desilets said although he was aware of Brisebois’s parked protest in front of the hospital, he was not sure who called police.

“We don’t want to start a fight with (Brisebois),” said Desilets.

However, police said it was the hospital who notified them on the evening of June 6.

Brisebois started his campaign in March, after his 33-year-old daughter, who had Down syndrome, died of pneumonia March 3 at the Pontiac Hospital Centre in Shawville.

The placard outside Jean-Paul Brisebois’s gas station reads: I, Jean-Paul Brisebois, request the medical fi le of my daughter Valerie from the Wakefi eld hospital. They refuse to release it to me. Why are they hiding it? Is there something  in the fi le? It doesn’t look good. I have the right to have it, it’s the law. They are asleep (on the job). I’m asking  the public to not give donations to the hospital.

J.P. Brisebois's placard outside his gas pumps urges residents to stop donating to the hospital.

Doctors had seen Valerie at the Wakefield hospital before her death, and Brisebois wants the records. Obtaining her records from Shawville was no problem, but the Wakefield hospital refuses to hand theirs over, saying it needs to know the reason Brisebois wants them.

According to Brisebois, he signed all the required documents needed to obtain the records – the same documents he signed in Shawville – but another “strange paper” showed up from the Wakefield hospital asking why he wants the documents.

Brisebois, who owns the Francis gas station in Masham and is the La Peche Ward 6 councillor, refuses to sign this paper for fear that his daughter’s records may be tampered with if he does.

After going public with his protest, first with a placard outside his gas pumps that he has transferred to his truck and then with an article published in a another regional weekly newspaper, the Wakefield hospital lawyers – Bastien, Moreau, Lepage from Gatineau — sent Brisebois a letter cautioning him to watch his language. The letter, obtained by the Low Down, threatened legal action if he continues spreading incorrect information about the hospital.

When asked if the hospital is still considering legal action, Desilets sternly replied: “No comment.” He remained firm on its stand, repeating the need to know Brisebois’s reason for wanting the documents before it makes a decision. Desilets said the hospital will be watching him, “to see what he does next.”

Brisebois, meanwhile, is not ready to give up the fight.

“I have lots of support,” he said.

He intends to continue driving around and to park his truck in front of the hospital until the issue is resolved.

“It’s just to put pressure on them so they give me the papers.”