Nfld. & Labrador

Grenfell Health Authority shouldn't have separated 94-year-old from his wife, family says

A Labrador family is calling on the local health authority to reunite their elderly relative with his wife.

Family told of man's move from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Labrador City just hours before

Howard Lethbridge, 94, and Winnie Lethbridge, 85, have been married for more than six decades. (submitted)

A Labrador family is calling on the local health authority to reunite their elderly relative with his wife. 

Howard Lethbridge, 94, was transferred from the hospital in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Labrador City on Aug. 19, while waiting for a spot at a long-term care facility back in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

"We don't think that he should be out there, and we want him back with his wife," said Lethbridge's daughter-in-law, Wendy Greenleaves.

He's very lonely. He's very confused. He wants his family.- Wendy Greenleaves

Lethbridge's family says it was only given a few hours notice before he was moved. Lethbridge's wife, Winnie, is 84-years-old. Greenleaves said the speed of the transfer has been a shock to Winnie, who had expected the transfer would take weeks.

"He's a 94-year-old man. There are times when he is very, very confused and he doesn't know where he is, and his wife can be with him in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. They have been married 64 years and she is really used to being able to visit her husband, and him as well. In a place like Lab City, he's alone and that's not good for an elderly person."

Greenleaves said the move has been difficult for Lethbridge.

"His son was speaking with him and all he kept asking for was his wife, wondering how she is. He's very lonely. He's very confused. He wants his family," she said.

Greenleaves said the couple may have to wait until later this fall before a spot at a long-term care facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is available.

"All his family wants is for these two people to be reunited so his wife especially can be able to go and sit down and spend time with him," she said. 

"The [health authority] is saying that there is a shortage of beds at the hospital in Happy Valley-Goose Bay."

Labrador Grenfell Health CEO Tony Wakeham told CBC News that the health authority will meet with the family to hear its concerns.

With files from Labrador Morning