Faced with a second stubborn wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister François Legault is increasing the shock treatments. Prolonged confinement. Curfew.
It seeks to protect a weakened health system long before the pandemic.
Through fear and constraint, he also tries to shake up the minority of recalcitrant so that they finally follow the health instructions.
On Monday, the crescendo went up two notches. 140,000 surgeries, he announced, are already postponed. In the event of an extreme shortage of resources in hospitals, his government could even initiate the National Protocol for prioritizing access to intensive care.
In short, committees should “choose” which patients would be treated and which would not. In spring 2020, a first version of the protocol even raised concerns that people with significant cognitive disorders – including adults with intellectual disabilities or autism – would not be entitled to intensive care.
Following an outcry among families and organizations defending the rights of people with disabilities, this ambiguous passage was removed from the new version.
Their lives matter
The fact that such a possibility was even mentioned in the first version confirms that in our societies, there is still today an unconscious bias unfavorable to disabled people.
The main stakeholders know this too well. Last night, while watching the news with me, my sister, who has an intellectual disability, panicked when she saw the triage protocol report.
His question tore my heart out: “Josée, if I catch the virus, will Dr Marquis unplug me?” ”(You should know that with the pandemic, Dr François Marquis, from Maisonneuve-Rosemont, has become his idol.)
I reassured her, but she was very scared. She was also scared because she couldn’t take the pandemic anymore. Like ours, thousands of families of people with disabilities are at their wit’s end.
From the start, in an attempt to protect their loved one from Covid-19, they have confined themselves well beyond government requirements. Quality accommodation resources are also doing everything they can to try to protect their residents.
For ten months, many children and adults with disabilities or autism have been deprived of their daytime activities, their leisure activities and any support at home. The effects of such a prolonged vacuum on their cognitive, emotional and physical health can be significant.
It is urgent to finally give them back the right to their own life. The way is however clear. Vulnerable adults with autism or intellectual disabilities, living with their families or in resources, must have rapid access to the vaccine.
They no longer have the “luxury” of waiting. For almost a year, many have been cut off from the outside world. The result: helpless families witness the intellectual and / or behavioral regression of their loved one. Decades of loving efforts go up in smoke.
The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel. We know it. It is also necessary that for the most vulnerable, it is not long in coming.