Daughter of man who died in Maples care home wants accountability

Dehydrated and not eating, Walter Eschuk quickly took a turn for the worse.

The 89-year-old Winnipeg man tested positive for COVID-19 while inside Maples Long Term Care Home. He died on Nov. 14.

“It wasn’t expected because they kept telling us he was asymptomatic and I guess I didn’t … realize how serious dehydration could be,” said Eschuk’s daughter Teresa in an interview from Ottawa on Sunday.

Walter is one of at least 46 residents from the Revera-owned home who’ve died after contracting COVID-19.

Teresa wants people to see his face and is calling for accountability. 

“This is certainly not on the health-care workers in the home. The staff have been tremendous. This is on the provincial government for not doing anything, and Revera who dodged my calls,” she said.

Winnipeg paramedics were called to Maples Long Term Care Home earlier this month after eight people died in a 48 hour period. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Teresa said she phoned Revera management demanding answers after learning of her dad’s dehydration long before a sudden string of deaths were announced in the home. That announcement came after a paramedic whistleblower who recounted a “nightmare” crisis at the home in a post on Reddit.

She said her call was diverted back to the Winnipeg facility and staff kept telling her mother Walter was dehydrated, but “they weren’t giving him treatment, there was no doctor, no nurse, just health-care aides.”

She said her mom went three days without any contact from the long-term care home. 

Teresa Eschuk wants answers from Revera, the company that owns Maples, as well as the Manitoba government. (CBC)

“Can you imagine being married to someone for 65 years … and then not have any contact for three to four days because the phone lines were [full and] you couldn’t even leave a voicemail.”

Teresa said her father was so badly dehydrated he had to be taken to hospital. He was ultimately sent back to the home where he died. 

Walter Eschuk was a resident at Maples Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg, where he died after testing positive for COVID-19. (Submitted by Teresa Eschuk)

“Where’s the inspection, where’s the accountability by this government to ensure that our seniors are taken care of,” she said.

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen has called for an independent investigation into Maples and Parkview Place Long Term Care Home, another long-term care home owned by Revera.

Teresa said she wrote a letter to Friesen on Nov. 5 worried about the care her dad was receiving and she said she still hasn’t received a response. 

“Where were his staff to bring this to his attention? I don’t want his condolences. I want them to do action so this doesn’t happen to other people and other familie,” she said.

“I had to do my dad’s funeral virtually because I can’t travel … I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”

Teresa hopes by sharing her dad’s story, people will take public health restrictions and COVID-19 more seriously. 

She said she’s “disgusted” with groups protesting in recent days advocating against wearing a mask.

“They’re saying their fight is freedom of choice, while my dad didn’t have a choice, did he? So all those people that think freedom of choice is really the concern and cause here really need to give their head a shake and go get themselves educated.”

Revera didn’t return a request for comment on Sunday afternoon in time for deadline.

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