A family seeking answers into the death of their patriarch is frustrated with the lack of information they're getting from Interior Health.
Moneca Jantzen received a response to a Freedom of Information Request made to Interior Health regarding the July death of her father, Jack Shippobotham, three weeks after he was in an altercation with another resident at Overlander Extended Care.
She and her mother Vera Shippobotham requested a copy of the August preliminary report on the incident. IHA officials even helped her with the FOI forms.
Now they're being told the information cannot be disclosed under the B.C. Evidence Act.
"We don't know the details and we will not get any justice," Jantzen said Thursday.
Shippobotham, 79, never fully recovered from his injuries, which included a broken nose and fractured hip and pelvis. He had moved into Overlander five months earlier because of dementia.
His alleged attacker had a brain injury. The 71-year-old was moved to Hillside Psychiatric Centre after the altercation and died earlier last month from an accident. Health officials haven't given out information about the accident.
During the weeks after her father's death, Jantzen got anonymous phone calls from some Overlander staff who fed her information around the problems in her father's unit, as well as suggesting the other man had attacked another resident previously.
"We just want to know what happened. We've been told certain things — that this has happened before, the locks (or lack of) on the doors . . ." she said.
With the possible suspect dead, the police investigation has now concluded. The B.C. Coroner's Office is still conducting its own investigation.
Jantzen and her mother met with four Interior Health officials on Aug. 9 to discuss what occurred. At that meeting, they were told the preliminary internal review report was being published that day.
"They told us about the report. They never indicated it was a quality review or that we wouldn't have any access to it," she said. "It was almost like they just wanted us to vent."
When the review wasn't immediately forthcoming, Jantzen got help from an Interior Health employee to fill out the FOI forms.
She wondered why the family can't get any factual information about what occurred leading up to her father's death — even without staff names or other identification.
"They say we'll be told in December what recommendations and actions will be taken. Which is fine, but it doesn't actually explain what happened or why.
"Most importantly, we feel strung along and not taken seriously, like they want us to go away."
The Daily News received a similar response about the Evidence Act to a request for the Aug. 9 report.
Darshan Lindsay, communications manager for Interior Health, said the review was done under an IHA quality committee.
"Those records are subject to Section 51 of the B.C. Evidence Act so it's prohibited from release. The purpose of that section is to allow for an open and frank discussion of incidents," she said.
When it was pointed out that the possible accused is dead, she said the IHA review is separate from the police investigation.
"It has no bearing on whether there's a criminal investigation. It's specific to an incident at a health facility. It is struck for the purposes of understanding what took place and what changes we might make in the future," Lindsay said.
"As for what information we might share, we have to be mindful of what we do in accordance within the act. We certainly do know there is some interest, even from a broader public perspective and we are looking to see what we can share, but keeping in mind of those restrictions."
She said it's hoped the full review will be done by the end of the year and that the family will get some information at that point.
"It's important for us to let this process go through the process. There is an internal process and that itself is not even complete yet. Once that piece is done, we can look at what kind of information we can share more broadly."
Jantzen said it seems as though Interior Health just keeps stalling, hoping she and her mother will go away.
Staff have told her there were concerns about the man accused of attacking her dad.
"We're not going to get our day in court. It would be nice for them to tell us what they knew, what happened," she said.
"Why was this man with these people and why weren't they protected better?"