NEWS

Deborah Kennard fights for more independence

12/29/2014 07:20 EST | Updated 02/28/2015 05:59 EST
A Montreal woman who suffers from a rare type of muscular atrophy says "red tape" is holding her back from living on her own.

Until recently, Deborah Kennard was staying in her own apartment at the Lucie Bruneau Rehabilitation Centre. 

But Kennard, who has limited mobility and requires a ventilator to help her breathe, said she's now being forced to stay at the Montreal Chest Institute.

For years, her ventilator was connected to an oxygen mask, but Kennard found the mask painful. She's now got a ventilator hooked up through her trachea in her neck. 

But the new setup is also what keeps her in a room at the Montreal Chest Institute. That's because a registered nurse must be present when the ventilator is changed, which isn't always possible at the centre where she used to live.

Possibility of an exemption

Lisa Giroux of the LucieBruneau Rehabilitation Centre said the facility doesn’t have the resources to accommodate her needs.

“We're respecting the law,” Groulx said. “We’re trying to be as conscientious as possible.”

Giroux said the centre is looking into whether or not an exemption can be made in Kennard's case, but until a decision is made they need to obey the law.

Dr. Sandra Dial, a respirologist at the Montreal Chest Institute, said the rules currently in place are unnecessarily strict.

“It's definitely something that can be trained to a non-medical person. We have a lot of families doing it at home, it's a lot of work and responsibility for them but it's taking place,” she said.

Kennard understands the centre's concerns, but just wants to be able to return to where she’s most comfortable.

“Personally, all this red tape is artificial. My disability is what I have to work around, I don't enjoy working around red tape,” she said.

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