Former caregiver admits she neglected disabled 'disturbingly emaciated' senior

Almost neglected to death

A "disturbingly emaciated" Kamloops senior who was neglected by her live-in caregiver would have died of malnutrition if authorities had not intervened, a judge has been told.

Dawn Brush, 55, has pleaded guilty to one count of failing to provide the necessities of life. She was in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday for sentencing submissions.

Court heard Brush was a live-in caregiver for a disabled woman requiring 24-hour care. Brush began caring for the woman in 2006, working through an agency affiliated with Community Living B.C.

In May of 2019, when the woman was 68 years old, red flags were raised on multiple fronts. First, Brush’s supervisors paid a visit to her home to inspect the woman’s living conditions. Second, the woman’s family doctor reached out to schedule an appointment because he hadn’t seen her in two years.

The doctor ordered the woman admitted to Royal Inland Hospital, describing her as “almost bone.” The woman was 72 pounds when admitted to RIH, described by Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston as "disturbingly emaciated."

According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, the family doctor said the woman “would have died of malnutrition if no interventions were taken.”

The agreed statement of facts also summarized the woman’s general state in May of 2019. Court heard she had matted and unkempt hair, smelled of urine and had a pressure sore on her hip. She also had crust on her eyes and film on her lips.

Court heard Brush forged prescription records for the woman. During the 2019 investigation, it was determined her last prescription had been filled in 2017.

The woman was placed on a high-calorie diet in hospital and sent to live in a group home, where she had bulked up to 109 pounds within four months.

Brush is slated to undergo a psychiatric evaluation prior to sentencing.

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