Clarenville man demands public apology from Eastern Health

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Barry Moores has written a public letter to David Diamond, president and CEO of Eastern Health, demanding a public apology after he says Eastern Health called RCMP officers to his door on Thursday, May 18.

Moores lives alone in his Shoal Harbour home inherited from his parents.  His bookshelf is lined with Steinbeck and Hemingway.  He likes the music of Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. He has loved baseball since he was a boy.

He has worked as a reporter and editor for various papers, taught journalism at Western Community College in Stephenville, worked with CBC radio, and co-founded Natural media in 1994.

Moores, who was diagnosed with MS in 1993, is confined to his home and wheelchair, and is attended to by home-care workers.

His home-care worker was out on an errand on May 18 when RCMP officers knocked on his door, and Moores was unable to answer the door. He says the officers announced that they would be coming in, and proceeded to do so, and that they said they were there on the behest of Eastern Health in regards to a post that Moores had to Facebook the previous day.

“They [the RCMP officers] said that somebody at Eastern Health called because they thought you might hurt yourself,” Moores told The Packet.

In that Facebook post, Moores claimed that “the well-paid automatons at Eastern Health” cut back his heating supplement by $600 for 2017-2018.

“As an organization, you have no shame whatsoever. As I expected this year and as I have been telling the whole world for more than a decade now, your inept behaviour toward me as a citizen and so-called client of your health board is forcing me out of the home left for me by my war veteran father and my mother who was a school teacher in Clarenville for 30 years,” Moores’ post read.

“You have the option of reversing this right now. Or fighting me into my grave. The second option is a scenario you cannot win,” the post concluded.

Moores says for Eastern Health to involve RCMP officers was irresponsible on the part of Eastern Health.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s ludicrous… I just don’t understand why they would do that without contacting me first.”

“At the best this is not at all well thought through. At the best inept and incompetent. It’s not meeting professional standards, and that’s at the best.  At the worst… it’s a hallmark of a totalitarian regimes.”

He also says he does not hold the RCMP officers at fault.

“I’m not criticizing the police…  they’re in a situation where Eastern Health made them jump, ” said Moores.

Eastern Health did not comment on the specific incident when contacted by The Packet, but they did provide a statement regarding their policy.

“The safety and security of our patients, clients, residents, visitors, staff and volunteers is a priority for Eastern Health. The nature of providing health-care services across our region sometimes requires staff to visit clients in their homes. It is our responsibility to ensure that these working environments are safe. Eastern Health takes this responsibility very seriously and has an established policy and protocols to manage any perceived threats that are received,” the statement read.

“For example, when contacted directly by a member of the public via our social media accounts, phone lines and/or emails with a message that raises potential safety concerns, the process is to consult with relevant programs if it is felt that the safety of staff may be jeopardized. If the review determines a situation may be unsafe, Eastern Health, as outlined in Eastern Health’s ‘Violence Prevention Response and Support’ policy, has legal and regulatory obligations to report violent incidents, including threatening statements and/or behaviours, to varying authorities such as the police and professional regulatory bodies. The authorities may decide to conduct investigations in relation to such incidents, and determine any required action.”

Moores, in the open letter, calls the actions of Eastern Health both careless and dangerous, and says that incident humiliated him in his own neighbourhood, and brought about a great deal of stress.

“One doesn’t even need to be a publicly-funded self-described health expert to know stress is the first danger to MS,” Moores writes.

He says that the act was also one of censorship and an example of journalist intimidation.