29 December 2017

Why and how I was discriminated against – explaining to HRTO’s Dr Fthenos

1. On November 6, 2017, I submitted a 50-page Application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, describing how I was discriminated against by 7 individuals (naming also one organization) in a total of 9 various incidents/events over a couple of years or so. The individuals were doctors, administrative staff, and other staff at a hospital.
2. This is the second blog entry I have written on this subject of this HRTO Application. See also, Ageism in Ontario's health care and human rights (HRTO), Dec 21, 2017.
3. Brief Chronology
June 27, 2017 – CPSO complaint submitted (College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario)
Nov 6, 2017   –  HRTO Application submitted (Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario)
Nov 27, 2017 – email to HRT requesting status of Application
Nov 27, 2017 – email response from HRTO re status of Application – in a queue
Nov 28, 2017 – Letter by email to Dr Fthenos, Registrar, HRTO, to remind him of the CPSO
                         complaint
Dec 7, 2017 –   Letter to Dr S. Bodley, President, CPSO, informing him of the related HRTO
                         Application
Dec 11, 2017 – Letter from Dr Fthenos, HRTO, Notice of Intent to Dismiss
Dec 18, 2017  – my letter to Dr Fthenos, HRTO Registrar, requesting extension,
                          among other things
Dec 21, 2017 – email to Dr Fthenos, Registrar, HRTO requesting response and time extension
Dec 21, 2017 – Ageism in Ontario's health care and human rights (HRTO).  Blog:
                         Sue’s Views on the News
Dec 21, 2017 – email to HRT requesting time extension on Notice of Intention to Dismiss and
                         corrections
Dec 21, 2017 – email to HRT requesting correction of clerical errors
Dec 29, 2017 – Why and how I was discriminated against – explaining to HRTO’s Dr Fthenos.
                         Blog: Sue’s Views on the News

One letter, then another
4.  On Monday, December 18, 2017, I wrote a letter addressed to Dr Georgios Fthenos, Registrar of HRTO, about a letter I received from his office, dated December 11, giving me a Notice of Intent to Dismiss my Application. At first I assumed their letter was in reponse to my own letter of November 28th (by email attachment), addressed to Dr Fthenos specifically, hoping to avoid the letter being taken up by someone else who had the authority to, thus not getting my concerns addressed. In response to the Dec 11 Notice of Intent to Dismiss, I sent a letter by regular mail, on Dec 18, 2017, addressed to Dr Fthenos, Registrar, HRTO, with questions and a request for an extension of time. Just before Christmas closing, on Thursday, December 21, I emailed a reminder to the Registrar at HRTO, about the request for an extension of time and about possible errors. I requested that he please send his response by Wednesday, December 27, 2017.  To explain how this works, I shall say here that emails to the HRTO are automatically addressed to the Registrar, to HRTO.Registrar@ontario.ca , but would not ordinarily go to the Registrar.  It is part of the mystique of the HRTO. I have not heard back, so I must continue to address my concerns about my Application and the way Dr Fthenos and the Tribunal are carrying out their duties.

5. In the letter dated Dec 11, 2017, containing the Notice of Intent to Dismiss, signed automatically by Dr Fthenos, the Registrar, I was informed that my Application did not identify specific acts of discrimination within the meaning of the Code, as it appeared I had explained only in general terms that I have been treated unfairly without connecting the “unfairness” to one of the grounds set out in the Code. See one example from my Application of an incident that I explain in terms of the Code that they did not see as an incident. Dr Fthenos, or the unnamed person doing the work for the Registrar, presumably has the power to dismiss my Application if I don’t write it up in the manner they expect it to be done. My Application has not yet been accepted to be processed, so there is no caseworker I can approach, only address my concerns to the Registrar, Dr Fthenos. But I don’t know if he gets to see anything I write and send to him. The concern of whoever wrote to me was not the letter I wrote to Dr Fthenos on Nov 28, however. It was how I wrote up part of the Application for the HRTO.
Ontario Human Rights Code
6.  Under the CODE, incidents that Applicants bring to the HRTO must be about discrimination on particular grounds: disability, creed, sex, sexual harassment and/or solicitation, gender, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, and age (brief version of grounds). In my Application I have named discrimination on the grounds of sex (being female) and age (being an older female), marital status (being single), and family status (being part of a family but not living together). I have tried to supply the information I was asked for, but the request did not give any details except that I must relate my claims to the CODE. The writer was presumably seeing what I have complained about as incidents of meanness, or unfairness in general, not as being related to any of the grounds mentioned in the CODE.  But people  - doctors, nurses, admin staff, etc, are not unfair in general, I wouldn‘t think. They have something going on in their heads when they treat one patient better than another, or deny adequate diagnostic treatment to some patients but not others. I doubt that the desk staff draw straws to determine which patients will get what kind of treatment on this day, as they look at them waiting patiently in the waiting room. They know, from what they see in their files, or who is accompanying them (if anyone), or from how old they look, how ill they seem, and so on, what kind of treatment they will be offered. When people are treated unjustly in hospitals, one at least hopes it isn’t because of some characteristic irrelevant to life’s journey not usually acknowledged as a stigma such as colour of hair, probable time left to live, ability to cope, style of writing, or whether one is needed by a significant other or family.
7.  I believe I do understand what I am expected to do although I question the authority of the person who has said I must, and of the necessity of stating each incident, for each respondent, and showing its meaning under the code. The person who informed me, in the Notice dated Dec 11, didn’t explain which sections needed to be rethought, and rewritten, and I was unsure what I needed to be doing. I believe that having 7 respondents makes it more difficult to connect the acts of discrimination to the different parts of the Code I am basing my claims on. It is more difficult, I think, to see the whole picture when the incidents of discrimination, and how they relate to the Code, are looked at as distinct incidents. And it is probably only when the entire situation is looked at that it can be recognized for what it is – a situation of discrimination on the grounds of sex and age, and family and marital status.

Explaining Discrimination within the Code - and an example
8.  In the Application Form, Part C, Under the heading ‘Questions about Discrimination on the Ground of Age,’ for example, the question reads: Explain why you believe you were discriminated against based on your age. I believe I have answered that. I tried to answer, “How” as well as “Why.” It is possible that when a subject such as discrimination is a familiar one, that a person tends to take for granted that the reader – the caseworker or even Dr Fthenos himself, in this case, can understand what I am saying, and how I was discriminated against. I have been studying and writing about aging and gender for many years now, at universities I have attended and on my own. But do the individuals who work at the HRTO understand the complexities of all types of discrimination? Why did the person who responded to me say:
the narrative setting out the incident of alleged discrimination fails to identify any specific acts of discrimination within the meaning of the Code” (Letter, Dec 11, 2017, signed automatically, Georgios Fthenos, Registrar).

Yet here is one such incident , one more time, that I included in Section C (Goods and Services) of my Application. It was the last one I mentioned, about the doctor who attempted to find a solution but only belittled what I had been through and how serious this matter was. Besides the letter-writer not being able to find one single incident of discrimination, I believe it is only respectful to provide a name when writing a letter that contains the possibility of a momentous decision. A person writing anonymously can say anything and not have to take responsibility for mistakes. Furthermore, that person neglected to provide details of which section or which question s/he need to have me make changes to. 
9.  In the Application, in the section about the Code, I explained how I understood the relevant parts of the Code and included them in my response – not in narrative form but in numbered paragraphs. If the comment by the person who wrote to me was about Question 8, I was simply doing what I was expected to do, according to the Applicant’s Guide to Filing an Application:
You must tell the HRTO what happened to make you believe that the respondent has discriminated against you based on one of the grounds in the Code.  .  .  . start from the beginning and end with the last incident of discrimination . . . . include what happened, who was involved, when it happened, where it happened. .  .  .  we encourage you to tell your story in chronological order” (p 19).
If it comes across as a narrative, with numbered paragraphs, describing each incident in order, it only makes me wonder if the writer understood what was expected of the Applicant, especially when there was so many incidents and respondents. It must come across as a rather long narrative, but that is what was asked for.   
10. I imagine that if a person has named only one Respondent, it is easier to say something to the effect that, This person discriminated against me by bullying me because he thought he could get me to back down and shut up because I was old and needed the health care I was getting even though it was substandard. But I would have to repeat the same sentence 6 or 7 times, for each of the respondents who bullied me. I wonder if the person writing to me has had experience doing Applications that have involved 7 individual respondents and 9 incidents/events.
Three excerpts – Ageism and Public Interest Remedies
11. As an example of how I laid out the section about “Why” in Part C, I include a link here to the first 3 paragraphs out of 13 in total, of my response in the section on Discrimination on the grounds of Age. See 2017 Dec 28 excerpt age discrimination  .  Secondly, I have included the first couple of pages from my response to the question on discrimination on the grounds of family and marital status, explaining "why" I believed I was discriminated against.  I also include the section ‘Public Interest Remedy’ also called the Remedy for Future Compliance,  that was part of the Application to the HRTO, Nov 6, 2017, on how to improve the hospital’s approach to problems of discrimination, including prevention. Although the paragraphs are not numbered, it is only one page long and is clearly specific about what I see as necessary and how to solve each problem.
Proving discrimination
12. I believe Dr Fthenos or the writer of the letter may have been mistaken in implying strongly that I need to prove my case in writing, bit by bit, before I get to the Hearing. As I have stated before to him, my case relies on circumstantial evidence, and so will become much clearer as time goes on. It may not be evident at this time that the incidents I had to put up with were due to the grounds I stated – age, sex, etc, family and marital status, but taken on the whole – each piece as part of the whole – and it will be clearer to any reasonable person that they are part of a wider situation of discrimination that I was subjected to.
Sending mail between HRTO and others  
13. The information in paragraphs 12, 13, and 14 has been included in emails I sent to the HRTO yesterday, Dec 28, in an attempt to have errors in calculation of time corrected, and to request an extension of time to respond to the Notice of Intent to Dismiss.
In the letter dated December 11, 2017, I was given a deadline – Monday, January 8, 2018 – to respond to a lack of detail in my Application for a Human Rights Tribunal, in effect allowing me only 23 days to deal with it, from December 15 to January 8.   The Rules of Procedure of the HRTO state,
Where a document is delivered by a party or sent by the Tribunal, receipt is deemed to have occurred when delivered or sent: 1. by mail, on the fifth day after the postmark date” (Rule 1.22).
If Rule 1.22 applies to the Registrar, for this document sent to me, then even if the letter was sent to me (and postmarked) on the day it was written, December 11, 2017, it would be deemed to have arrived on December 16, leaving me 23 days to respond.
'Notice of Intent to Dismiss' Rules
Under Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedure, DISMISSAL OF AN APPLICATION OUTSIDE THE TRIBUNAL'S JURISDICTION, it is stated that
“Where it appears to the Tribunal that an Application is outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, the Tribunal shall, prior to sending the Application to the Respondent(s), issue a Notice of Intention to Dismiss the Application. The Notice will:
a) be sent to the Applicant only;
b) set out reasons for the intended dismissal; and,
c) require the Applicant to file written submissions within 30 days
” (Rule 13.2 ) 
14.  The Registrar Dr Fthenos could have given me 30 days to respond to his notice, but he only allowed me 23. The writer/Dr Fthenos seemed not to have taken into account the extra 5 days for getting through Canada Post (Rule 1.22). And it still wouldn’t add up to 30 days. Neither was I granted the full 30 days mentioned in Rule 13.2, after receiving Notice of Intent to Dismiss.
15.  Even if the Rule 13.2 had said I was to be given 30 days to respond, I understand he has the power to lengthen or shorten any time limit in these rules (Rule 1.7, Rules of Procedure). In that case, one would have thought the Registrar or his secretary would have mentioned what rule they were using to decide how much time to give me to respond.
16.  There is another aspect to this problem of the possibility of having my Application dismissed. Under Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedure, DISMISSAL OF AN APPLICATION OUTSIDE THE TRIBUNAL'S JURISDICTION, it is stated,
The Tribunal may, on its own initiative or at the request of a Respondent, filed under Rule 19, dismiss part or all of an Application that is outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal” (Rule 13.1, Rules of Procedure).
In other words, if Dr Fthenos decides one part or all of the Application isn’t within the jurisdiction of the HRTO, because he is reading my Application in a certain way, or for some other reason,  is it possible that he can dismiss not only that one part but the entire Application? He has already stated (or the reviewer/caseworker has) that he cannot identify a single act of discrimination within the meaning of the Code in the Application I wrote.  It seems almost as if I am expected to prove in my Application that I was discriminated against, rather than have a Hearing at which to discuss the incidents and alleged discrimination. 
Making Changes to Section C
17.  Nevertheless, I will attempt to make changes in the format of that part of the Application that deals with the Code, linking specific incidents with the applicable Code. I thought I had done that, to some extent, but presumably not enough to be recognized as such. And I can only hope that I am granted additional time to complete the changes. The power of the Registrar, or his staff who write letters in his name, to dismiss my Application when I have myself have found what appear to be errors in calculation of time, a lack of detail in the reasons given to me for the Notice of Intent to Dismiss, no acknowledgment of any specific acts of discrimination in my Application, and scant information on which sections in my Application need changes, leaves me hoping that when it comes to the more important decision, of whether I can continue on with the Application for a Tribunal or not, special attention will be paid to handling it fairly and with social justice in mind. The Rules of the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario (SJTO) state:
The rules and procedures of the tribunal shall be liberally and purposively interpreted and applied to:
a) promote the fair, just and expeditious resolution of disputes,
b) allow parties to participate effectively in the process, whether or not they have a representative,
c) ensure that procedures, orders and directions are proportionate to the importance and complexity of the issues in the proceeding
 "(A3.1).
My HRTO Application
18.  As it stands currently, the Application I have submitted to the HRTO has not yet been processed, having only been looked at by an unnamed person at the HRTO office in Toronto and/or the Registrar, Dr Georgios Fthenos, and declared that
a review of the Application and the narrative setting out the incidents of alleged discrimination fails to identify any specific acts of discrimination within the meaning of the Code allegedly committed by the respondents” (Dr Georgios Fthenos, Dec 11, 2017).
My Application is 50 pages long. I have described each of the nine incidents. I have described how each of these affected me. And I have described how each relates to the Code of the HRTO – how they were acts of discrimination  under the Code.  I have described how family and marital status and the intersecting grounds of age and sex are understood within the Code, and stated this is how I was discriminated against.  I have included here excerpts from both the beginning of the section in my Application on age and sex discrimination, and on family status and marital status. But I will make changes to that section.
Initial emails with HRTO
19.  Following is the initial sequence of emails and letters back and forth between the HRTO and myself. My HRTO Application had been received by them on November 6, 2017, and given a File Number, but at no time did I receive notification that my Application was being worked on – being processed. When I emailed for the status of my Application, on Nov 27, 2017, I was informed the same day by email that it was in a queue. I did finally contact the HRTO (also called the Tribunal and/or the Registrar) on November 28, by email plus attachment, to inform the Registrar that my Application included information about a related investigation under way, at the CPSO (College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario). That complaint was about another doctor, whose attitude and behaviour towards me was due, in part, to his knowledge of the negative reports written by the specialist/surgeon I had named in my Application to the HRTO. These two investigations are connected, and I wanted to ensure that the CPSO was aware of this Application. When I had attempted to inform the investigator at the CPSO of the HRTO Application, she simply said that each investigation was confidential so the CPSO would not know about the HRTO Application. As it happens, they are not confidential. I was required to include details of the CPSO complaint, including the original complaint form (dated June 27, 2017), in my Application to the HRTO.
20.  After I wrote that email to Dr Fthenos, on November 28, 2017, explaining about the CPSO investigation, in return I got a letter in the mail, containing no mention of my concerns, but informing me of his 2017 Dec 11 Notice of Intent to Dismiss  .
Human Rights Legal Support Centre and the Summary Hearing
21. On speaking with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre they told me that the HRTO didn’t deal with incidents involving medical decisions.  I didn’t know that, but I still have 6 or 7 other incidents the Tribunal could investigate. The person at the Legal Centre did not want to discuss anything more with me with me when I said to her the medical decisions were just just the start of it. I know I must have made mistakes in the Application, and I would appreciate the opportunity of correcting them, and giving evidence, rather than see the entire Application dismissed.  I gather, ordinarily, that this decision of the Notice to Dismiss would be made at a Summary Hearing, where the Applicant would be able to defend their position, but the Tribunal has not requested a Summary Hearing, although the Respondent apparently could, but I thought not until my Application had been processed, which would mean that the Respondents named in my Application receive notice from the HRTO that this matter was being investigated. I am unsure whether a Summary Hearing would be of greater benefit at this point.
22.  I submitted my Application to the HRTO on Nov 6, 2017. I received confirmation but for several weeks it was in a queue, I was told on November 27 when I inquired. Then, on Dec 11, I was sent by mail a Notice of Intent to Dismiss my Application and given until January  8 to respond. The way Dr Fthenos, Registrar and human being, or his assistant, unnamed, has left it (intentionally or not) is that I am subject only to the decision made by him or the assistant, whether or not to dismiss my Application. See Paragraphs 5, 7, 11, and 16. 
 

23. At best, I am at risk of having the Registrar, Dr Fthenos, dismiss my Application on his own ability to reason, and his own knowledge of discrimination on the grounds I  have mentioned (has he read through the 50 pages?).  Worse, it could be someone – unnamed – who is just learning how to process HRTO Applications.  I do have concerns. It’s one thing to have respect for someone in authority, and to show respect, but quite another to trust the outcome, especially when mistakes have been made already, and comprehension of discrimination on the basis of age and sex has not been demonstrated to me in the letter I received (2017 Dec 11 HRTO Notice of Intent to Dismiss), signed automatically 'Georgios Fthenos'.

21 December 2017

Ageism in Ontario's health care and human rights (HRTO)

In November, 2016, I was subjected to false accusations and lies (which amounts not only to harassment/verbal abuse but also to discrimination under the Human Rights Code) in reports written by a specialist/consultant at LHSC (London Health Sciences Centre), and other employees.  I identified that incident, among others, as discrimination on the grounds of sex and age, and marital and family status, separating it into nine distinct incidents, and submitted an Application form on those grounds to the HRTO (Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario).  I named eight Respondents, one of them being the organization LHSC, the rest being individual Respondents.

Writing up this Application was complex enough. It was impossible to make all the connections that would enable a caseworker to understand at one reading what it was all about. But this was only the Application, not the hearing. And nothing stands still. Even since submitting my Application, on November 6, 2017, there have been other interactions, not in person but by mail, or email, or telephone.  The distortions of truth coming from those interactions have been more than simply frustrating. They’re enough to make a person lose faith completely not just in the human race but in the  safety or value of speaking in person to someone who might then tell lies and manipulate one. There was also the doctor who wrote to me, copying his letter, sent by standard mail, to several of his colleagues. I don’t have that option, to start sending so many letters off to people, and so am limited to using mainly email, a means of making contact that is not reliable or proof of anything except that one may be a nuisance, probably, something that may not apply so easily to a letter writer.  Then it came to be that emails themselves – not mine but other individuals - were likely being manipulated, but I had no power to stop that from happening.

It is difficult to be an older person in Ontario and not have the resources or support to fight the battle, not just against the original source of discrimination and ageism as a patient, but then with the HRTO. I don’t qualify for Legal Aid and don’t have the funds to get a lawyer or even a paralegal otherwise, as far as I know. Despite seeking the more reasonable alternative in the London area I didn’t find a paralegal who appeared to have knowledge of the complex system of human rights in Ontario. That’s different from human rights abuses that happen abroad. Here, it’s about discrimination on grounds that are listed in the Human Rights Code, such as age, sex, race, marital status, etc, that occur in education, or employment, or in areas such as goods and services.  

The woman at the HRTO Legal Centre will only say to me now, after hearing the first part of my Application (about this being about a doctor) that they don’t deal with cases about doctors’ medical decisions. That is how this situation started – regarding a medical decision made by the doctor, but it has gone way beyond that. In fact, looking back at it more objectively, I believe the main incident for the HRTO (since he has been absolved of responsibility of  treating me inadequately and carelessly) must then at least be about the damning reports the doctor wrote about me, no doubt egged on by his loyal staff.  This will get sorted out, as time goes on. It is just difficult to pull it all together when others say that’s not allowed, or that’s not the problem.

I wonder if the participants in this in entire situation were knowledgeable enough to realize that the larger they make it – the more complex and involving more people than just the doctor – the less likely it becomes that the HRTO or any other complaints system I went to would see as an issue they can resolve – or was it simply that they figured if they ganged up on me, I would give up and go away. According to the doctor’s reports, not just one or two, but all his admin staff accused me of being rude. I only recall seeing two of them – the front desk clerk and the person who showed me to my appointment, but then there was the audio clerk too. And the appointment-taker, so named because she was only the voice on the other end of the telephone, there to make – and break – appointments.

I tried to explain that at one point, probably in the Application, that part of that problem, the one with the front desk clerk, could have been a matter of perception (with discrimination as its basis).  If she, as secretary of the doctor, saw herself as above the patients – or above some patients – they may consider it rude even if the patient speaks to attempt to understand something. Treating patients as children is one form of ageism – as people not competent, or on the other hand as not worthy, being only patients in the hierarchy. Besides that, the front-desk clerk may also have had poor self-esteem, and thought I was being critical of her, which I wasn’t. I just thought that, 2 years down the road, I could try to make sure that my reports didn’t keep going to the original referring doctor. On the other hand, her behaviour (which wasn’t immediate, only coming to light weeks later) may have been done to me to turn the tables, as it were, knowing that I realized I was being shortchanged on the diagnostic test that had been offered me. Thus, accusing me of being rude, in effect, treating me like a child, was to do the opposite of what I was about to bring into the open, the fact that the doctor saw it okay to treat me, an older female, having no family close by and no husband, the way he did. Thus, by the doctor accusing me of being rude, the real reason behind my attempts to get answers about the test I was being offered, when I had already been dismissed so quickly by the doctor at the appointment, was at risk of being ignored completely.

I have been put in a situation of trying to understand why this or that happened to me, and whether it was legitimately a case of discrimination on the grounds of one or more of sex and age, and marital and family status.  And I have had to do it for every incident, of which there were nine in the Application I made – 9 incidents, 7 individuals. If the HRO believes in social justice, I hope they would make it as bearable as possible for me to engage with them in achieving a just solution.  

At this time, there is a delay in processing new Applications, I have been informed, which are taken in the order they are received.  So, meanwhile, no caseworker has been assigned to my Application, made on November 6, 2017.

29 January 2017

The Women’s March, social injustice, and personal experience

About a week ago a piece was written for the Washington Post that I found to be out of place in the Opinions section. I hesitate to provide the title of it, as it might automatically turn readers against me, for not viewing it with the sensitivity it requires, at least on one level. But here it is - the title 'My wife died just after Election Day. I'm attending the Women's March for her'. 

Death so often does necessitate the offering of condolences, ignoring errors in judgement or in practice, and just generally thinking of uplifting things to say. But then why would anyone choose to publish an obituary in the Opinions section of a newspaper?  Perhaps the reason was that it wasn’t an obituary in the usual sense. It was as much about the husband of the person who had died as about the deceased. And yet, scores of comments in the Comments section following the article were written in a manner that resembled condolences more than comments.

One might ask, was the article telling us the opinion of the writer on some social or political  - or economic  - issue? Not exactly, no, the writer appeared to be questioning his own sense of masculinity, in preparing to march in place of his deceased wife in the Saturday’s Women’s March, held in Washington and in places around the world, on Jan 21, 2017. Those who marched did so for a variety of reasons, many of the marchers no doubt being personally motivated, others marching for the rights of women who are marginalized in society, some having specific interests, such as abortion rights for women, violence against women, etc.

Mr Ikins’s wife suffered a tragic death, a fall down stairs, a coma, and finally, release through death. I can relate to that experience of having a fall. A year ago today I suffered a slip and fall, through which I broke my femur. Luckily  - I think – I survived, not having severed an artery and having a fast-acting, thoughtful neighbour, paramedics ready to do their bit, and an expert surgeon to care for my injury. Since then I have had to walk using a walker, but in a few days I will have the nails removed from the knee – nails that held the rod in place while the leg healed. So I am hoping for the best outcome. But by chance, my equilibrium – my sense of balance, experienced as a kind of giddiness, has affected my ability to walk normally too. Mr Ikins says that Nov 8 was the worst day of his life.  It was not a great day for me, either.

On November 8, 2016, I attended an appointment with an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, to tell him about the symptoms I had been having, but found my concerns being dismissed by a specialist who was overbooked, overworked that day, no doubt, and who was not expecting this new set of symptoms. For some reason, he was also defensive, and spent far too much time explaining to me why he sent the last report to my old family doctor, the one I had laid a complaint against with the CPSO, and filed an application against with the Human Rights Tribunal.  I had realized the report went to that doctor, despite my requesting from his appointment taker/secretary that it not be, but it was anyway, in order to abide by the regulations. 

On my way in, I had asked the girl at his clinic front desk if the report could be sent to a different doctor this time, and she said she thought so, but to ask the doctor when I saw him, which I did. All this took precious time away from my concerns – of the balance issue – disequilibrium.  Finally, he offered me a partial VNG test (look it up). I agreed, and later, at home, looked up the test on google. I saw that I had been offered only a piece of the set of 4 tests, and so decided to try to get the tests I needed. To skip to the end of this story, the appointment-taker/secretary and the staff at the ENT clinic lied about me, and the ENT specialist cancelled the appointment I had with him. I am now left with no suitable options for a proper diagnosis nor for treatment options, nor to repair the damage to my reputation.  The only possible option I have, which won’t help my vestibular/vertigo problems, is to lay a complaint against this doctor too.

Returning to the article written by Charles Ikins, I have to say I question whether Charles Ikins’s perception of the reasons for the march were rather limited. He saw it as being for women who experience indignities of the kind Trump had presumably committed, the very reason his wife was protesting.  And he decided that it would not be unmasculine for him to march in place of his wife, to honour her beliefs and commitment.

For the most part, I believe the women’s march was about fighting for the rights of women, and especially marginalized women, women who do not get the same kinds of opportunities and treatment that other women do – some of them single women, poor women, women without husbands, black women, old women, and so on. The maintaining of rights of women – abortion, sexual rights, and so on, were also reasons women marched.

I thought that the Washington Post had used a grieving husband’s thoughts and piece honouring his wife as a political manoeuvering – publishing it on Trump’s Inauguration Day, the day before the women’s march. Taken on its own, as a piece intended for friends and family, the article could be seen as having merit. But published in the Washington Post, for the public to read, it came across as something very different.

Part way through the article, Mr Ikins mentions the admonition for participants to “check your privilege.” He says he thinks he knows the meaning of the phrase, and yet the article itself is an example of what the privileged should try not to do. Instead of seeing things through their own eyes only, and taking for granted the things they have, the material advantages in life, and seeing their own cause as the one most worthy, they might try to see what others experience in life.

It is part of the human condition for tragedy to strike families – all of us - tragedies that are not anyone's fault. That's not going to help the writer of the article talked about here, but it needs to be said. Furthermore, some people in life – women among them – struggle in ways the privileged might not even be able to imagine – and it is not always men who are responsible for the injustices.  Finally, I have reservations about the value of a Women’s March if President Trump is chosen to be the most recent scapegoat for feminists seeking to unite women over a cause - any cause – to enhance interest in the feminist movement.


By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post - Opinions
Jan 12, 2017

By Charles Ikins
Washington Post – Opinions
Jan 20, 2017
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/my-wife-died-on-election-day-im-attending-the-womens-march-for-her/2017/01/20/e83c8092-df2d-11e6-ad42-f3375f271c9c_story.html?utm_term=.52db5f512fff&wpisrc=nl_opinionsA&wpmm

1 January 2017

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada - a question of truth!

Yesterday, the Prime Minister gave his recorded New Year’s speech for 2017, while the shortened, official printed version appears on the PM’s online government pages.

The speech (including the video) is the subject of a brief CBC announcement and summary (Jan 1, 2017) followed by a discussion of Trudeau’s speech, his policies, and claim that he will “always stand against the politics of fear and division, and focus on what brings us together – that is my New Year’s resolution to you.”

What could be more divisive than to state one will stand against the politics of fear and division. Why is the word fear so often used when the subject is perceived discrimination?

Do people or groups discriminate because of irrational fear, because I think that’s what Trudeau is implying, that some Canadians object to some immigrants and refugees because of some irrational fear.

Following the statement announcing the PM’s speech are comments from Canadians, probably, presenting their views.
The speech (including the video) is the subject of a brief CBC announcement and summary (Jan 1, 2017) followed by comments by readers about Trudeau’s speech, his policies, and claim that he will “always stand against the politics of fear and division, and focus on what brings us together – that is my New Year’s resolution to you.”

What could be more divisive than to state one will stand against the politics of fear and division. And why is the word fear so often used when the subject is perceived discrimination?

Do people or groups discriminate because of irrational fear, because I think that’s what Trudeau is implying, that some Canadians object to some immigrants and refugees because of some irrational fear.

Following the statement announcing the PM’s speech are comments from Canadians, probably, presenting their views. Some of the PM’s remarks were so specific that they could only contribute towards divisiveness among Canadians who, if their main concern in life happened to be omitted, might only feel antagonism towards the attention paid towards transgender individuals, for instance, or the increase in benefits of the middle class.

One important omission, in my view, is any mention of the healthcare system, and in particular, how older Canadians are dealing with that in their own lives. Associated with that might be the concerns of the disabled, as many older Canadians will be headed towards that category in due course. When people feel they have been treated unjustly and decide to speak out against the injustice, does that make us bad Canadians?

If I, as a senior, decide to speak out about my experiences trying to get answers from a certain specialist (his appointment-taker/secretary, actually) and none are forthcoming, does it make me divisive, or is the divisiveness caused by the specialist who refuses to discuss my symptoms, tells me my feeling of disequilibrium is actually low blood pressure, or tries to place the reason for it on a condition there is no evidence for, and then, when I do not agree with his interpretation of my feeling, only reluctantly he tells me he can send me for a caloric stimulation test? Or perhaps the divisiveness is caused by the a-t/secretary who refuses to answer my questions about what test I am being sent for and what tests overall does the clinic conduct, so that I then approach Patient Relations to try to find out, to no avail. Everyone involved simply clams up, leaving me with no information, no appointment, nothing.

My main point, however, is simply that one cannot mention all groups and concerns in one New Year’s statement, so there cannot help but be a certain amount of divisiveness. 
List of References

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada to mark the New Year 
Ottawa, Ontario
Dec 31, 2016
retrieved Jan 1, 2017

Prime Minister Trudeau delivers a message on New Year's Eve
Dec 31, 2016 
retrieved Jan 1, 2017

Trudeau takes stand against 'fear and division' in New Year's message
The Canadian Press
CBC News
Jan 01, 2017 5:42 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 01, 2017 5:42 AM ET


6 December 2016

PM Trudeau’s statement on violence against women and the Montreal Massacre: my thoughts

Following is the message I left online for Prime Minister Trudeau on his official government page at  https://pm.gc.ca/eng/connect :

I read the PM's statement today about the event at Montreal on Dec 6, 1989. I beg to differ, but the women were not killed simply because they were women. that is now an outdated way of looking at it. It was complicated, and it was about some men having to give up opportunities of the career they dreamed of. Marc Lépine must have been treated badly by women - staff - and feminists to have done what he did.

I know what it's like to not be able to have the career you wanted, because you didn't have enough money, or were too old when you went to university - I was 43 when the killings happened - an undergrad at university. Since then I got my MA and started a PhD, which I did not have enough support for, moneywise. When women go for it, they have to use every resource they can drum up. I was too old to start having to compete with younger women, and could not buy my way into a better position.

I never had a career either, but I did learn to write, and so I write, on Sue's Views on the News. Or at least, I used to write. Now I struggle just to get the healthcare I need, a good part of the time, unsuccessfully. What with women secretaries using their power to make things worse, and doctors probably thinking these women are to be trusted, and seeing no reason to provide care to a 70 year old with no husband, no family nearby to be at appointments with me, that no one is gaining anything worthwhile from, I have been left out. Like Marc Lépine, I have not been treated fairly nor compassionately.

This was not a typical situation of violence against women. Most violence against women happens between a couple who at least know one another and are often married. The killings committed by Marc Lépine were about a man being left behind while feminists prospered.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
by Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario: https://pm.gc.ca
December 6, 2016
http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/12/06/statement-prime-minister-canada-national-day-remembrance-and-action-violence-against 


The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women:

“Twenty-seven years ago today, 14 young women were murdered at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal simply because they were women.

“On this somber anniversary, let us reflect on what Canadians – women, men, and youth – can do to rid the country and the planet of the scourges of misogyny and gender-based violence.
“The statistics on violence against girls and women are unacceptable. Far too many girls and women, here in Canada and around the world, suffer physical and psychological harm at the hands of others – often people they love and trust.

“On this day – and every day – we recommit ourselves to finding solutions that help prevent future acts of violence. Men and boys are a vital part of the solution to change attitudes and behaviours that allow for this violence to exist. There must be zero tolerance for violence against women, and only with everyone’s support can we build a Canada that is safe for all.

“That is why the Government of Canada is investing in several programs, both in Canada and around the world, to help promote gender equality by supporting education and prevention efforts, as well as helping those who have been targeted by gender-based violence. For example, we will continue to grow and maintain Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses, so no one fleeing domestic violence is left without a place to turn.

“As we mourn today with the families and friends of those bright and talented young women who were victims of that senseless act of hatred, I encourage everyone to think about how their own personal actions matter. Start by joining the conversation online using the hashtag #ActionsMatter. Together we can change minds and stop gender-based violence before it starts.”


26 January 2016

The Human Rights Tribunal process is a farce

Having been involved in Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal process since the summer of 2015, I can now say for certain the Human Rights process  - at least the way it was conducted in my case - is a farce. It may work for some people, of course, but I hasn’t worked for me.

One of the reasons I say this is that, while attempting to get one of the main issues of contention between the Respondent and myself, the Applicant, resolved, I can see how the process has worked in his favour. And if the process itself hasn’t, while running its natural course, then the people working in it have enabled it to benefit him.

One


The Application I made to the HRT was to declare that the Respondent – my family doctor at the time – had discriminated against me on the grounds of sex, marital and family status, and age. I followed the rules and submitted 5 ‘important documents’ and one audio recording that I would be using at the hearing, as well as providing a list of them, stating the importance of each, as required in that section of the form. As the Applicant, I also had to provide a thorough description of the two incidents of discrimination and how they affected me, and what remedies I was seeking, which did not include a monetary remedy only ones directed to the Respondent himself and recommendations within society. See Remedies sought from the HRT.

Then it was up to the Respondent to write an official Response, using an HRT form for that, which he did in July, 2015. On it he wrote the name of only one document – The Medical Chart of McMcPherson – giving the reason it was important as “describes the care provided to Ms McPherson.”  It was at about this time that I inquired from the Legal Support Centre what was menat by the term ‘Document.’ I got no answer on that.

This was the first of the three times in all that the Respondent and the Applicant (myself) were required to declare what documents we were bringing to the hearing – or relying on, or might be using.

I did respond the Respondent’s official response, but the Form 3 I used said only respond to new issues, so that matter of the one bundle of documents – being my Medical Chart – remained unaddressed.

Two


The second time we were required to declare the documents  - in a formal Disclosure of “Arguably relevant Documents” - was by September 1, 2015, which I did, submitting my by then 7 documents plus 2 audio recordings by the deadline, but receiving nothing in return from the Respondent.

I contacted the Respondent and the HRT via an official form and was hastily sent the bundle of items previously mentioned by the Respondent – the Medical Chart. There were no dates on them, not in chronological order, no description of each page or their importance, nor their relevance, as was stated to be the new requirement – that they be arguably relevant.

I was concerned about the bundle being passed off as a single ‘Document’ but was advised by HRT to wait as a third deadline would soon be approaching, and perhaps all would be resolved by then.

Three


The third and last deadline was Dec 29, 2015, by which time the Applicant and Respondent were to have submitted all the documents they were going to “rely on” at the hearing in February.  By this time the Respondent had put numbers and titles on each of the items in the 103-page Medical Chart. But nowhere was the importance of the ‘Document’ or it relevance included, except meant to be as a “description of the care provided to Ms McPherson.”

I objected strenuously. And the Respondent’s lawyer objected in return, and in two Interim Decisions and one Case Direction, decisionmakers at the HRT sided with the doctor – the Respondent.  I get to use my 7 pages, and he gets to use 103 – if he needs to.

If I need to defend myself against anything that is raised by the documents he produces in self-defence, I don’t have anything. We both submitted documents starting in April, his in July, 2015, me providing insight as to why mine were important, the doctor providing nothing, except to say they described the care provided to me.

Negotiations and arguments


Forms 10 and 11 abounded then, between the Respondent’s lawyer and myself and the HRT, as we attempted to persuade the Interim Decisionmakers, Laurie Letheren and Dawn Kershaw, of the merits of our requests – me for adjournment to allow the Respondent time to provide the relevance of each of the 103 pages, his lawyer to plead that he had the right to a speedy hearing.

As time went on, his lawyer made the argument once again that I had placed the care provided to me at the centre of this matter, while I argued that no, like Evan Solomon, Mike Duffy, Jian Ghomeshi and Joe Fontana, when accusations are made against them it isn’t the good they have done that is at the heart of the matter. It is when mistakes are made, or discrimination carried out, that it ends up at a Tribunal and these are the matters to be looked at, not the good these people did. The lawyer’s Form 11 saying what she did, there, was ignored by the Interim Decisionmaker, Dawn Kershaw, in her Jan 15, 2016 Interim Decision, as were my remarks about what this case should be about.

Each time, the Interim Decisionmakers argued that this matter of the adjournment and the relevance of the items in the Medical Chart should be left to be decided at the hearing.  And then I realized that this was not going to happen. It couldn’t happen. It was an illogical decision the Interim Decisionmakers had been making every time they said it.

It would take time, if the Respondent were ordered to write down the relevance or importance of each of the items in the 103-page Medical Chart. There’s not a hope that could happen at the hearing, while we are all sitting there. It would seem that they  - the HRT Registrar, Richard Hennessy, or the adjudicator, Dawn Kershaw - had no intention of deciding in my favour, that the doctor would have to provide the relevance of each of the documents.

What that means, in terms of the hearing, is that if I produce a document or an example of ill-treatment or disrespect he wishes to dispute, he can produce a document from the 103 pages to prove his argument. However, having only 7 documents and 2 audio recordings, I am limited in how I can make a point or defend myself against his accusations. I can speak, but I have not been granted credibility. So it is the harsh words and distortions in documents written by the Doctor and his receptionist that will be believed.

What’s worse is that, during this whole process, I was led to believe that the process would be fair, yet I was not given the option of seeking documents to contradict the 103 pages he decided to rely on.  In fact, how could I? How could I begin to guess what he was going to produce, at the hearing, from his array of documents that he first mentioned back in July?

Three times the doctor produced that Medical Chart as his Document of importance, relevance, to rely on. And each time he not obliged to prove that the items in it were.

Discontinuity between the lead-up and the hearing


Late in the process it also sinks in that everything that happens during the initial process has nothing to do with the hearing. All that happens during these months of preparation, the HRT sending directions as to what should be submitted and when, and how they should be described, is forgotten once the hearing starts. What that means is that all the talk, all the arguments, all the lack of description regarding importance, relevance of the pages, etc. in the Medical Chart mean nothing once the hearing starts. It means that I can request that the doctor provide the relevance, right there, at the hearing, but that the adjudicator, Dawn Kershaw, can simply say No. Or, she can say, This should have been dealt with before the hearing started. There is no time now.

All those submissions I made, beforehand, about my position, mean nothing, unless they are included in the documents I submitted to the HRT to be used at the hearing. That means that the medical research I provided links to on why older women who have had given birth and have had hysterectomies ought not and do not need to be sent off for an ultrasound on their bladders will not be there as evidence. Only my word will count, though the colleague witness of the doctor has said in writing that the treatment I received – including the pelvic ultrasound on my bladder, was within the standard of care limits. What that means to me is that I would not want him as my doctor. And secondly, that giving the patient the chance to ask questions beforehand and to find out what would be expected from her doesn’t matter to either of them. As for the request by the doctor for a urine sample from me to test for “street drugs,” it is still my view that he needs to take a course or two on how to communicate in respectful ways. See details of the incidents of discrimination:
Statement on Pelvic Renal ultrasound incident 
Statement on drugs, urine termination incident 


Just as importantly, the doctor needs to consider the differences between  women who are young and those who are growing older, and how that may affect their diagnosis and treatment in matters such as kidney disease.

What is the purpose of such a lengthy process of requests for documents from the Applicant and the Respondent?  Is it to wear out the Applicant through repeated failed attempts to achieve fairness at the hearing?  See SJTO and HRT Rules of Procedure p 2

p 2 of the Rules

A3 INTERPRETATION

A3.1 The rules and procedures of the tribunal shall be liberally and purposively interpreted and applied to:
(a) promote the fair, just and expeditious resolution of disputes,

(b) allow parties to participate effectively in the process, whether or not they have a representative,

(c) ensure that procedures, orders and directions are proportionate to the importance and complexity of the issues in the proceeding.





1 January 2016

Proving discrimination at a Human Rights Tribunal

Added Monday, January 25, 2016    The aim of this HRT Application
Added Sunday, January 17, 2016 - Further Response to Anonymous commenter
Short edit made Jan 3, 2016
Added June 25, 2016  - improved 20 min excerpt of "street drug" incident.

What counts more – credibility of witnesses or factual evidence? Stated another way, should interpretations and viewpoints of witnesses close to the event or to participants in it be granted the same evidentiary legitimacy as substantive proof in the form of reliable, objective, detailed research or tape recordings of the incidents in question?

When I made out an Application to the Human Rights Tribunal in 2015 claiming discrimination by my family doctor on the grounds of sex (gender), marital and family status, and age, I did so in the belief that my complaint would be taken seriously. I have come to see now that, rather than my evidence and knowledge forming the basis of my claim, the lies and distortions of truth told by the Respondent, his secretary, and a colleague not long departed from the Port Elgin/ Southampton area are being held up as truth (by them and decision-makers at the HRTO), despite my having provided evidence in the form of tape recordings and factual research that indicates otherwise.

I know that my words mean little or nothing to most people. And that is the underlying factor in this case. I have no husband to provide me with credibility. I have no property  to enable me to be seen as a worthy person. I have no family nearby. I live alone, in a city that I once thought was a great city to live in – London, Ontario – but now having returned after years away – including a decade abroad – after 5 years here it no longer seems that great to me.

Interim Decision


Of significance here is the Interim Decision of October 8, 2015, which relieves the Respondent of the responsibility of having to provide the relevance/importance of each document within the Medical Chart, even though in their initial Response, it was a requirement that they do so, “they” being the Respondent and his lawyer. Their claim at the time (in their Response to my Application) was that my entire Medical Chart were documents intended to show the care provided to me, never mind that it is full of omissions, pages put together haphazardly, indecipherable scribblings by the doctor,  not in chronological order, nor with dates on the pages – and no explanations of the relevance of each individual document. According to the Interim Decision, my requesting more detail was “premature”.  And so now, according to the Notice of Hearing, Aug 11, 2015, when from that bundle the ones to be relied upon at the hearing were to be listed, by the end of December, 2015, the Respondent went directly to the new instruction, listing them, giving them titles, and numbers, but still neglecting to explain their relevance.

View the HRT Interim decision, October 8, 2015

The pages of the Medical Chart (my medical chart) now have titles, but are out of order and not dated. More importantly, no mention of the relevance of these so-called documents that I received from the Respondent at the end of December, 2015 is included. It would appear that, through the manipulation of language, and the lack of familiarity of the Interim decision maker with my Application, the Respondent has managed to avoid having to provide the information originally required in his Response to my Application. Submitted as a whole, the chart may give the overall impression that the doctor was a caring doctor, but delve more deeply, and it would show he was not. But who has time to delve more deeply. The Human Right hearing lasts 2 days. Am I to spend that time defend myself by pointing out all the mistakes and lack of attention to detail in the Chart, including all that is irrelevant, nothing to do with this Application, but which may make me look bad in the eyes of the Human Rights adjudicator. Without an explanation as to their relevance, the documents are left to the adjudicator’s imagination to comprehend.

In my Application I focused on two matters only, ones I had proof for. Now, that has been turned around by the latest submission to me and the HRT by the Respondent, on Dec 29, 2015, which is the now titled and numbered Medical Chart, plus a statement by his secretary upholding his opinion, a secretary whose name I didn’t even know until I received the statement, as she never referred to herself by her name when she called, and the doctor did not either. The other witness statement is a so-called expert statement by a new colleague of the doctor’s, who did not reside or practice in London at the time but who seemingly is providing his objective views on the treatment provided to me, stating that it was appropriate.

In particular, I should think that sending a patient for renal ultrasound test, to rule out causes of kidney disease, and including an ultrasound on the bladder, was simply not well thought out – typical of this doctor’s attitude towards me – thoughtless, uncaring, and disrespectful. The witness colleague, a family physician also, directs readers to ‘Mosby's Family Practice Sourcebook - An Evidence-Based Approach to Care,’ for evidence (which they must seek out on their own, apparently, from within the book’s pages) that sending me for a bladder ultrasound - a 69-year women who has given birth 2 times, had a hysterectomy and is somewhat overweight - is within practice guidelines for a patient whose lab report shows “an initial abnormal creatinine clearance (eGFR)”.  The witness colleague writes:

“While an ultrasound limited to just the kidneys would have been appropriate, it was stili within the standard of care to include the bladder to rule out other possible causes of chronic kidney disease” (Dec 27, 2015 physician witness statement).

The Two Incidents of Discrimination


See here for a more complete and coherent description and analysis of the ‘pelvic/renal ultrasound incident,’ taken from my original Application but rearranged in a more comprehensible format. I would simply state here that for a woman my age, with my reproductive history, and weight, sending me for an ultrasound test on my bladder was not only unnecessary, it was risky, and uncomfortable, and demonstrated a lack of knowledge of older women’s chronic health issues. His colleague also seems not to want to go into detail on the matter at hand in any serious way.

The witness secretary decided to interpret my manner during the second incident – see the ‘urine sample and “street drugs” incident and analysis’ - as rude, although I did submit to the HRT a while back a longer audio recording of the incident after the doctor himself accused me of shouting at his staff, for the benefit of the staff’s perhaps short memories. Originally, I submitted only the recording of what took place in the treatment room, during my appointment, but I decided to send in the rest of it, which included my taking the container for a urine sample to the washroom (after obtaining a key from the pharmacy), then changing my mind, returning the unlabeled jar to the secretary, leaving, then returning to ask for a form that I could take to the lab to have the urine test done there. By that time I had lost all faith in my doctor. The staff ignored my request, and so I left, going to a walk-in clinic and requesting that I be allowed to provide a sample of urine to test. I did so, but on inquiring time after time I was eventually told that the sample I gave to them had been lost.

Read 8-page transcript of the 21-23 minute recording. The section related to the Tylenol 2 and “street drugs” urine sample request begins on page 5.

Click to hear longer 21-23 minute audio recording of ‘urine sample and “street drugs” incident’.

[Another try has produced a 20 minute excerpt of the April 28, 2014 incident, with higher volume and greater clarity. It starts with changes being made to the Rx renewals, at approximately the half-way point going into the incident where the doctor demanded that I submit a urine sample for "street drugs" if I wanted a renewal on my prescription for two Tylenol 2 tablets daily, for pain due to 2009 broken ankle] (added June 25, 2016).

   I have been unable to make a better quality mp3 from the original tape recording due to not having the proper equipment. Instead, I used technology available at a small cost online, but with limited capability. I have not asked for any damages from the HRT, thus would not receive any financial advantage even if my Application were successful. That’s not the reason I am doing this, although I  must say I did not realize at the start the financial costs of engaging in this endeavour. I do believe, however, that the recording, lengthy though it is, heard in conjunction with the transcript, provides a better understanding of the emotional content of the incident, and situates it in real time, taking approximately 23 minutes.

Diffusion of Responsibility


This is the phenomenon whereby people are less likely to take responsibility when there are several other people involved. Thus, the in this situation, just to focus on the actual process of the HRTO, the caseworker may make a mistake, or the Legal Support team might, or the Interim decision-maker, or even the translation between the official HRT Rules of Procedure and items of correspondence sent to explain the process to Applicants and Respondents may use words differently, but in effect, open up the process up to misinterpretations and, significantly, to diffusion of responsibility.  When so many people become involved, no one is obliged to take responsibility.  No one will. And so, in the end, who is there on whom to place responsibility?

The diffusion of responsibility within the actual HRT  process is one part of it. Another part is the diffusion of responsibility among the various doctors, secretaries, witnesses, lab workers, fax machines, photocopiers, and other forms of technology through which errors can be made, or Medical Rules and Regulations that state what is permitted and what not, that often leave no one person, such as the physician himself, obliged to take responsibility for errors, lack of knowledge, or lack of awareness of social influences on their own psyches in their interactions with patients.

A third part of the diffusion of responsibility is the fact that the Respondent has four first names, tending to confuse the issue of this doctor’s real identity. The name he uses in his local medical practice is the last name on the list, according to his profile with the CPSO (College of Physicians and Surgeons). Thus, the name he uses usually hasn’t appeared on official notices and documents sent by those involved in this Application, including myself. Instead, it is usually the first or second of the four names that get used. So who is this man, exactly?  Is he the person listed as a CPSO member, who is named on the application, and the same person as the local London doctor, or by using this technique is he able to avoid taking responsibility, not really a part of these proceedings due to the name he is known not appearing in the documents?

Conclusion


I find myself in this dilemma of being up against “credible witnesses” due to the very reason I am making this Application to the HRTO, and that is that, largely due to being female, and older, and not having a  husband, nor being a property-owner, and being alone here without family, I am in a vulnerable position of not having credibility.  I also spent a few years abroad, before returning several years ago to the city where I came to do my undergrad degree after my marriage ended. My name then was Fulham, and I was a student of Sociology in the late 80s and early 90s.  Thus, I am now in this situation of being up against people in the health care professions who are granted credibility to speak and be heard and believed while I am not. I have evidence of a factual nature, objectively-conducted research, and audio tape recordings. But that isn’t really good enough, is it. One needs family, association with a profession or academic institution, or a spouse, or property, or a career present or past, to provide one with the credibility and power to be heard and believed.

I was treated very badly by that doctor who made rude remarks about me to my face, mistreated illnesses, sent me for unnecessary tests, changed my medications for no good reason, would effectively end discussion by informing me that “the report’s back. You’re fine,” or telling me I am smiling thus must be feeling okay, and more. It seems to me that a doctor should be able to treat patients regardless of his personal feelings towards them.  I realize I am one of those who don’t qualify for first-rate treatment, in this country of ours. But to see doctors openly abusing their position as knowledgeable and respected individuals part of a larger group of time-honoured professionals in Canada is regrettable.

Added Sunday, January 17, 2016

Further Response to Anonymous commenter


Yesterday, in a comment on this matter, Anonymous suggested I drop this action. I responded, and now have something else to add to what I said there, see below, in comments.  On occasion we hear of accusations made against someone, and even of charges laid, followed by the retraction of the charges, or the accuser walking away from it, for whatever reason.  When this happens, as does sometimes in cases involving sexual assault or sexual harassment, comments made by some readers in the comments section of the online newspaper then claim that the accuser realized she was mistaken, or had gotten over being upset over nothing at all, and was actually just another false accuser – another good reason why I should not quit this situation, even though it is getting even worse, as mistakes are made (mistakes?) in the process itself, which go unacknowledged and are not corrected, and the Respondent’s witnesses themselves are telling outlandish lies or giving questionable support to the treatment decisions made by the doctor. The two women who have made Interim Decisions, the latest just on Friday, the 16th of January, are taking shortcuts in their examination of the Forms of the Applicant and Respondent, and even of the Rules of Procedure for the HRTO. Hence, they come up with the Decision they probably want to make, not the one the evidence says they should. The latest decision-maker, Dawn J. Kershaw, is from London, I see after googling her name, so I would suspect that this is an issue of conflict of interests, since me and the doctor in question are also located in London. She made a number of decisions, none of them in my favour, and I had been the one bringing them to her. But the lawyer for the Respondent replied, and perhaps in error but I don’t think so, made me look like a nit-picker, simply for requesting a numbered copy of the 103-page Medical Chart containing my medical records.

She - the Respondent’s lawyer – had missed the deadline for Disclosure of Documents, so ended up mailing me a copy of the 103-page Medical Chart in haste – by regular mail -  in no apparent order, not numbered, no explanation of the importance of each item, or its relevance to the acts of discrimination I had brought. The importance of the documents are required, but by presenting the bundle of documents as a single  ‘document’,  they got away with claiming that it showed the care provided to me, the Applicant.

Even at the time I asked the Legal Support Centre what was meant by the term document, and got only a vague answer. I suspect now it is one of those things that enable trickery to be played out, and by putting off dealing with the matter, as I described in an email earlier on Friday to the HRT, after receiving the Respondent’s From 11, but before the Interim Decision had been made,  the Lawyer, or the HRT itself, can influence the outcome in the direction they prefer, and that is, that the doctor get off and I get blamed for being picky over requesting a numbered copy when according to the Respondent’s lawyer, she had already sent one to me, a claim that the Interim Decision-maker, Londoner Dawn Kershaw, took as truth because, well, she’s a lawyer and doesn’t lie.

If that Medical Chart is allowed to be used in its entirety at the hearing, I needed to know that the copy the HRT received at the end of December was numbered, and was numbered the same as my copy, on which I wrote the numbers myself, from 1 to 103.

The other requests I made were all denied. So my 8 pages and 2 audio recordings are up against his 103 pages, and according to this decisionmaker, as well as the previous one, it’s okay that the doctor doesn’t give the relevance of each of the items. So he can make claims on the pages which will be taken as truth simply because he is a doctor.

I was denied more time to prepare for the hearing. And my request to have the hearing taped was denied, though I am permitted to tape it myself as along as I transcribe it afterwards and provide copies to the Respondent and the HRT. But even if I do that, the audio tapes of the hearing are not to be made public, Kershaw says.

This is not a good situation. No wonder some women who try to get justice give up and walk away. And it’s not only men who give them a hard time during such proceedings. It’s women, too.

Added Monday, January 25, 2016     

The aim of this HRT Application


Within the last few days something has become clear to me. My efforts over the last months had been focused on having the doctor take responsibility for explaining why he thought each of the items (most consisting of one or two pages) of the 103 page ‘Medical Chart of Ms McPherson’ were important or relevant to the hearing, and to have the hearing delayed until that matter could be resolved. Only recently have I realized that the refusal of the Interim Decision makers, Laurie Letheren and Dawn J Kershaw from the Human Rights Tribunal, to deal with the matter effectively and fairly, instead, informing me each time that I have to raise these matters at the hearing, was not only avoiding the issue and another example of ‘diffusion of responsibility,’ but a senseless decision – not even making sense.

These are the options the adjudicator will have, if these Interim Decisions and Case Direction are raised at the hearing. She can say, No, there is no good reason why the doctor should have to defend his view that the entire Medical Chart should be allowed, since he has already given his reason, that it describes the care provided to the Applicant.  And then it will be up to me to prove otherwise, I suppose – if I get the chance - although by now I have only 8 pages of documents and my word is worth nothing in the eyes of the HRT. And by having to do that, it takes time away from the reason for having the hearing in the first place – the Doctor’s discriminatory practices and attitudes towards me.

On the other hand, the adjudicator might agree that the doctor should explain the relevance or importance of the documents he is relying on – in the 103-page Medical Chart. But how? Would he be required to do so right then, in the Chamber of Commerce room where the hearing is to be held, while the rest of us wait? Or would the adjudicator simply announce that this Decision should have been made beforehand and refuse to deal with it. The Medical Chart would stay, and it would have been seen by the adjudicator, and he could pull any pages from it he wanted to – words written by him, or his receptionist, making negative comments about me that I would then feel obliged to refute, making the hearing more about me than him. Those are three possibilities, but in truth we have no idea what the adjudicator will say or do.

In her Case Direction of January 22, 2016, Ms Kershaw wrote that she thought I was “unhappy” with her “failure to address” another Interim Decisionmaker’s decision (Letheren), but it was not her role to do so, she said.  In fact - and I did express this thought - it is her ability not to look beyond the earlier Decision, instead, making the same decision, reinforcing the earlier error not to adjourn the hearing to deal with the relevance issue that was the problem, as well as not examining the relevance of the Medical Chart nor have the doctor do so well before the hearing.  

I had put it this way, in an email on January 21 to the HR caseworker and the Respondent’s lawyer, about Kershaw’s Interim Decision of January 15, saying, in part, 

I asked that the decision-maker re-evaluate the material, but Ms Kershaw seems to have left out an inportant docuemtn - a Form 11 by (the lawyer), dated Jan 11. It's hard to know for certain because Ms Kershaw did not give dates to the Forms she was talking about, But it sounds like it. It is that Form 11 that stood between the first Form 10 of mine and what she refers to as my "amended version." Actually, it was not amended, It was a new Form 10 (Jan 12, 2016) made building on what (the lawyer) had written. 

If she doesn't come to understand this now, she certainly won't at the hearing, where there is little time to think. It sounds to me like she already has her mind made up and that this process and hearing is a farce.” (S McPherson, email Jan 21, 2016).

This is an excerpt from Form 10 (Jan 12, 2016) submitted by me in response to the Respondent’s Form 11 (Jan 11, 2016) that Kershaw ignored and that formed the basis of my later email comments about this process and the HRT being a farce.

In response, in her Case Direction of Jan 22, Kershaw referred to the email, saying,   

With respect to the applicant’s comments about my making decisions and her characterization of the hearing and the process as a farce, I would caution the applicant that Rule A7.1 of the tribunal’s Rules of Procedure states:

All persons participating in  proceedings before or communicating with the tribunal must act in good faith and in a manner that is courteous and respectful of the tribunal and other participants in the proceedings.” (HRT Rules of Procedure, Kershaw, January 22, 2016, Case Direction, 2015-20652-I).

I have laid a complaint against Dawn Kershaw with the SJTO (Social Justice Tribunal of Ontario), which means, I understand, that my concerns will go right back to the Human Rights Tribunal for them to deal with as they please. As I said most recently, the Human Rights Tribunal is a farce. Perhaps it works for some people, but not for this particular case of discrimination. See details of the incidents of discrimination:
Statement on "street drugs", urine sample and termination
Statement on pelvic renal ultrasound incident

One thing they  - the lawyer for the Respondent and the HRT caseworkers and Interim decisionmakers -  have been successful at is keeping me tied up with fighting this injustice of the Medical Chart and keeping the focus on it instead of the incidents of discrimination I am saying were perpetrated by the doctor. And now, it is Dawn Kershaw who is the problem – the person who will be the adjudicator at the hearing.