B.C. family who lost brother challenges hospital procedures for discharging patients under Mental Health Act – CBC

Family says their brother could have been saved if the hospital informed them of its discharge plans

May 08, 2023

James Zimmer will always be remembered as a kind-hearted carpenter who dreamt of supporting people like himself who were struggling with mental illness, his family says.

“He wanted to start out with being a peer supporter,” said sister Cindy Zimmer.

But the dream never came to fruition. On Feb. 9, James, 50, took his own life after being discharged from Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, his family unaware of his whereabouts.

The family is the latest in B.C. to protest hospitals’ lack of compliance with the part of the Mental Health Act that requires loved ones to be notified of a patient’s admission or discharge from hospitals — something advocates claim health facilities often fail to do.

Issues around consent
James had always willingly gone to the hospital and consented to notify the family of any plans to discharge him, Cindy says.

According to his family, James was always involuntarily held — meaning he could be in the hospital indefinitely — because of symptoms like paranoia, delusions and suicidal thoughts.

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/james-zimmer-death-1.6831535

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