New Brunswick

Ombud investigates after veteran forced out of hospital with nowhere to go

The New Brunswick ombud is investigating the case of a 67-year-old war veteran from Moncton who was sent packing by the Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital with nowhere to go.

67-year-old Robert King says he was kicked out of Georges-Dumont Hospital, despite being unable to return home

Robert King, who served in Bosnia and Croatia in 1991, is legally blind and in a wheelchair. (CBC)

The New Brunswick ombud is investigating the case of a 67-year-old war veteran from Moncton who was sent packing by the Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital on Friday with nowhere to go.

Robert King, who is legally blind and paralyzed from the waist down, spent several hours on the sidewalk outside the hospital. 

"I have no clue whatsoever where I'm going to go," he said Friday.

King served in Bosnia and Croatia in 1991. He is now on disability pension from the Armed Forces and uses a wheelchair.

Cecile Cassista, the executive director of Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights, became involved in the case after being contacted by CBC News.

She got in touch with the Royal Canadian Legion in Moncton, which has been making sure King is looked after, but she also filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Office of the Ombud about how the case was handled.

Seniors' advocate Cecile Cassista filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombud. (CBC)

Cassista told CBC News on Monday she received a call from the department telling her it was taking on the case, but declined to elaborate to avoid interfering with the investigation.

When CBC News tried to confirm the development, the office would not confirm or deny it was investigating, saying it can only comment when cases are completed.

He indicated several times that he didn't want any freebies, but he just doesn't have a place to go.- Ghislan   LaPierre , Royal Canadian Legion

Veterans Affairs Canada said it would be inappropriate to comment while the case is before the ombud.

"We are aware of the situation and are working with the provincial health authorities," said spokesperson Marc Lescoutre.

King spent more than two years in the hospital after being found unconscious at his home. The hospital said earlier that such cases are complex and it would never put someone on the street who still needed medical care.

Legion members picked up King from outside the hospital on Friday.

'He was very nice and pleasant'

67-year-old Robert King says he has nowhere to go after being told to leave the Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital in Moncton. 1:00

"We're here to help the vets." said Ghislan LaPierre, first vice-president of the branch. "He was on the sidewalk there and had no place to go." 

​"He was very nice and pleasant. He indicated several times that he didn't want any freebies, but he just doesn't have a place to go."

LaPierre said the legion paid to put up King in a hotel, where he is staying until renovations to his house are completed to make it wheelchair-accessible.

Veterans Affairs is also helping and paying for King's meals while he's in the hotel, in addition to the renovations.

LaPierre said the legion would make sure King receives the care he needs.

"He'll be looked after," said LaPierre.

About the Author

Gabrielle Fahmy is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been a journalist with the CBC since 2014.