Montreal

With questions still unanswered, witnesses called back to Quebec nursing home inquest

The inquiry into the Herron long-term care home in Dorval, Que., resumes today, after the coroner overseeing the hearings said there were too many unanswered questions.

Hearings resume today over privately run Herron home, where 47 residents died in 1st wave of COVID-19

A total of 47 people died at the Herron nursing home in Montreal's West Island during the pandemic's first wave. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The inquiry into the Herron long-term care home in Dorval, Que., resumes today, after the coroner overseeing the hearings said there were too many unanswered questions.

Coroner Géhane Kamel announced the decision after the initial round of testimony wrapped up last month.

"At least then it will feel like I have closed the loop with Herron," Kamel said at the time.

"Maybe I won't have all of my answers, but at least I can sleep soundly."

Kamel referred often during the inquest to a "black hole" at the centre of the events at Herron, making it difficult to understand what transpired. A total of 47 people died at the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic's first wave in the spring of 2020.

The inquest heard how patients at the private long-term care home in Montreal's West Island endured appalling conditions in late March and early April of that year.

The inquest will hear from five witnesses, starting this morning. 

Lynne McVey, CEO of the local health authority, the CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, will be the final witness to testify, likely on Oct. 26.

McVey was among the first people to testify at the Herron inquest in early September. She said the owner of the home, the Katasa Group, wasn't fully co-operative and didn't immediately hand over medical records of patients.

Later on, other witnesses told the inquest that it was the health authority that was slow to respond to the crisis.

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