Jean Guy St-Aubin sits in an airport luggage cart March 1 after returning to Ullivik from hospital. (Photo courtesy of Brenda St-Aubin)

Ullivik patient needing wheelchair taken to room on luggage cart

Jean Guy St-Aubin says medical travel lodge needs to provide more assistance to patients with mobility issues

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A medical patient staying at a Quebec travel boarding home says he was transported to his room on a luggage cart when no wheelchairs were available.

Jean Guy St-Aubin, of Kangiqsualujjuaq, flies south on a regular basis to receive cancer treatment in the Montreal area. Like many other medical patients from Nunavik, he stays at Ullivik in Dorval, Que., which provides temporary housing to people from the region seeking health care in the south.

St-Aubin, 76, said he arrived at Ullivik March 1, hoping to relax following an exhausting radiotherapy appointment. But when he arrived, the wheelchair he thought he had reserved had been taken.

“I was kind of tired and I cannot walk, so I said, ‘Well if they can carry cargo with that, they can carry human beings,’” he said.

“There was a wheelchair that I had, I had to put it at the back of the security guard to reserve it … But this time I don’t think he did his job and somebody took it.”

This is not the first time someone hasn’t been able to get a wheelchair when needed, St-Aubin said.

He said he’s seen other people get frustrated at Ullivik staff when they ask for a wheelchair and are told there aren’t enough available.

“There’s more and more people getting old, and more and more people getting sick,” he said.

“There’s what … Five or six wheelchairs for, you know, for how many people?”

St-Aubin said for the most part, Ullivik has been good to him. He said the service is mostly good and staff are helpful.

After returning home to Kangiqsualujjuaq, he is scheduled to go back to Ullivik again this week for more treatment.

However, he wants to raise awareness that the facility needs more wheelchairs to ensure other elders and people with mobility issues who go south for care get the comfort they need.

“We’re lucky to have that, that thing for us, the people from the North. I’m not complaining,” St-Aubin said.

“If a person cannot move at all, how does he get to go to his room? I don’t want to be spoiled, I think it’s a basic need.”

A Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services spokesperson acknowledged St-Aubin’s situation in a statement to Nunatsiaq News and said Ullivik has eight wheelchairs available on a rotating schedule.

“When he wanted to sit in a wheelchair again, the wheelchairs were momentarily occupied by other users who could not move at all,” said spokesperson Kathleen Poulin about St-Aubin’s specific situation.

“Each client is invited to use the equipment that can accommodate their situation, or to indicate their need or change in condition so that Ullivik staff members can assist them adequately.”

Poulin said Ullivik is expecting four more wheelchairs to be delivered soon.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Agnes on

    I hope they’re gonna do something about this as soon as possible

  2. Posted by mik on

    if i was their family, id Sue.

    what happens if they fall and break something,… unnecessarily injuring and elder….

    start sueing and see change

    • Posted by Sarcastic Mofo on

      Must be fake news.

      Didn’t we just get treated to an Ad featuring a former Director of Health Services espouse what awesome 1st rate treatment she was afforded on her stay at Ullivik implying people who point out the systems shortcomings are just spouting sour grapes chasing grudges, rather than begging their real concerns are not falling on deaf ears.

      • Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

        They know , where , she ranks in the pecking order. she got the V I P treatment.

  3. Posted by Thousand words in that photo, maybe even a million on

    Story after story, good story, like Former executive director of health last few weeks in her positivity. And stories are good from others, time and time. But, the bad stories on top of bad stories , are they false, true , indifferent, what’s going on ? We are all concerned, one way or the other. Like are some Inuit making it bad for all Inuit, when they drink and make problems at ullvik? Or are there systemic deep issues of neglect at ullvik? I don’t know, you don’t know, and we don’t know who knows. But this photo of that man in that cargo shop cart, using for a wheel chair, paints the picture, takes the cake so to say, and takes it to a more concerning, different level of neglect, coming from or to somehow, and someone got to answer to the humanity here. I mean, he even said , the cart was somewhat better than nothing, but he’s such a nice person anyway. This needs viral exposure. This has to be addressed in the name of all that’s at the services of Nunavik with health care in the ullvik name. This is one of the photos we’ve been waiting to get out there.

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