WWII veteran, in Camp hill with broken back, longs for his wife

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WWII veteran, in Camp hill with broken back, longs for his wife

Post by Alpha on Sat 01 Dec 2018, 7:08 am

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Re: WWII veteran, in Camp hill with broken back, longs for his wife

Post by Jackson on Tue 04 Dec 2018, 11:27 am

Bend rules for separated couple

Published: Dec 4, 2018


Nothing defines bureaucracy like a government spokesman saying he “empathizes” with someone’s difficult personal circumstances but, we’re sorry, rules are rules.

Canadian Second World War veteran David Vaughan, 97, who fought as a tank operator in the brutal Italian campaign against the Axis powers, has been in Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital for the last 10 months, ever since he broke his back.

For much of that time, he’s been unable to see Cecilia, 92, his wife of 70 years, whom he describes as “my best friend,” who’s being cared for at home by their daughter. He says he visits her when he’s able.

Last week, Camp Hill staff told Vaughan that his wife could not move in with him so that they could spend whatever time he has left together. “This could go on until I die,” Vaughan told The Chronicle Herald’s Andrew Rankin. “Not a nice thing to think about.”

Why can’t a way be found to keep this couple together? The rules, says Veteran Affairs spokesman Alex Wellstead, stipulate that the beds at Camp Hill are for veterans only. Besides, the province offers options for keeping long-term couples together, he said.

Except that Vaughan says he and his wife can’t afford those alternatives, which are triple the cost of his subidized Camp Hill accommodations.

We agree with veterans’ advocate Angus Cameron, who says Veterans Affairs should simply “find a way” to make room for Vaughan’s wife.

As Cameron points out, there are very few Second World War vets around anymore, “so why not keep this couple together, especially since they have been together for seven decades?”

We doubt bending those precious rules will open floodgates of similar requests.

We’d encourage Veterans Affairs to apply some humanity in Vaughan’s case.

Besides, the department seems to have had no problem bending its rules — the ones about about Camp Hill beds being for veterans — in different circumstances. For example, the Nova Scotia Health Authority apparently now pays Veterans Affairs to use almost two dozen Camp Hill beds for regular civilians who’ve been discharged from hospital and are awaiting long-term care elsewhere.

Vaughan served this country honourably in the costliest war, in terms of lives lost, ever fought. Surely, Canada can now “find a way” to allow him to be with his beloved wife of 70 years as he nears the end of his life.

Maybe it’s not strictly “by the rules.” But it’s the right thing to do.


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