Assault victim's family seeks legal advice, inquiry

The family of an elderly war veteran who died after being attacked in a Winnipeg care home says they're hiring a lawyer in hopes of effecting change on the elder care system.
Frank Alexander died Monday night in hospital. The photo on the right is Alexander as a young man. (Courtesy of the Alexander family)

The family of an elderly war veteran who died after being attacked in a Winnipeg care home says they’re hiring a lawyer in hopes of effecting change on the provincial elder care system.

They also asking for a detailed inquiry into his death.

"We want to see changes in the system," Michael Alexander said.

Joe McLeod, 70, has been transferred to a psychiatric care unit. ((Courtsesy of McLeod family))
His 87-year-old father, Frank Alexander, died late Monday night after spending the weekend in hospital in critical condition.

"We think that Manitoba needs to change some things and it shouldn't be this tough … that patients should be protected, not put in harm's way."

Police allege that Frank Alexander was pushed in a confrontation last week with an Alzheimer’s patient at Parkview Place personal care home on Edmonton Street.

Joe McLeod, 70, is charged with aggravated assault, but police said Tuesday they were consulting with the Crown to see if the charge might be upgraded to one of manslaughter.

McLeod has been moved to the Health Sciences Centre's psychiatric department after being held at the city’s remand centre.

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He has a history of aggressive behaviour, according to his relatives.

His daughter, Faye Jashyn, said McLeod has been involved in several aggressive incidents with care home staff.

A judge ruled Monday that McLeod should spend 28 days under close observation to properly determine his mental state and what facility would be best to care for him.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has also initiated a critical incident review that will include a complete assessment of McLeod's history in care.

Family angered at political interference

As well, the Manitoba government said it, too, will investigate the incident and seek ways to improve safety for people in personal care homes.

"Our family is not coping well with the situation, especially to be attacked the way he was," Alexander said.

"And [to] lose his life in such a meaningless way when it could've been prevented is disheartening and upsetting."

Alexander, however, saved his harshest words for the Manitoba Liberal Party, whose leader Jon Gerrard, has advocated on McLeod’s behalf.

It was Gerrard who announced McLeod’s recent arrest and held a press conference to protest the jailing of people who suffer from diagnosed mental-health issues.

The party also intervened in assisting McLeod in being placed at the care home where Alexander was injured.

Michael Alexander said the system wasn’t allowed to work as it should because of the interference.

"I believe that due process was not followed," Alexander said.

"He was fast-tracked and he should never have been in a nursing home. Period."