Son says mother pressured to leave hospital, dies a week later

A Montreal man has filed a complaint against a hospital after he says his terminally-ill mother had to leave a hospital, or pay $800 a day to stay.

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Martin Pilon said his mother, Lise Tomlet, died one week after she left Suroit Hospital in Salaberry-de Valleyfield, Que.

"We knew her prognosis was not good," Pilon told CTV Montreal.

Pilon’s mother was diagnosed with cancer last summer. By mid-December, doctors said there wasn't much more they could do to treat her.

"After a few weeks they started putting pressure on her to leave," Pilon said, telling CTV Montreal that his mother needed some care, but not acute medical care.

He said the hospital determined that Tomlet could not enter the palliative care unit because she was expected to live for at least another nine months.

Pilon says his mother was told, if she didn't leave the facility, she would be billed for her room.

"If you stay, then we're going have to charge you, if you're discharged, $800 per day," Pilon said.

Suroit Hospital officials told CTV Montreal that Tomlet was never charged, but patients waiting for a room in a long-term care facility are billed between $800 and $1,780 a month.

Pilon said his mother left the hospital for a seniors' residence. She died one week later.

Patient rights advocate Paul Brunet said Tomlet's case is unacceptable.

"How much more bureaucratic can you get?" he asked. "They are following norms, but they are totally inhumane. They should be ashamed of themselves."

With a report from CTV Montreal's Stephane Giroux



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