Thursday, January 22, 2009

Minna Mettinen-Kekalainen

Minna Mettinen-Kekalainen is a 42-year-old woman with Asperger's syndrome and ALS in Ontario, Canada who has been on hunger stike because she is allegedly being refused the home care services she needs. The Sudbury Star has an article about her here, and Amanda Baggs over at Ballastexistenze has a post here. Tomorrow (Friday), social work students at Laurentian University will stage a day-long protest Friday to raise awareness about her situation. They will demonstrate in front of Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci's office from 8 a. m. to noon, then march to the North East Community Care Access Centre in the Rainbow Centre for a demonstration until 4 p.m. There are additional details and an update on Minna's condition in this morning's Sudbury Star. Here is an excerpt:

A friend of Mettinen- Kekalainen, who is also her legal power of attorney, said she has begun accepting her food supplement again, ending her hunger strike.

Jason Bushie said Mettinen- Kekalainen has also experienced a positive mood swing in the last few days. She has been deemed a palliative patient by her family physician, but that is not stopping her from getting out, in her motorized wheelchair and via Handi-Transit, for outings such as one she took to a Sudbury bookstore Wednesday.

Bushie said Mettinen- Kekalainen still is not receiving personal support or nursing care from the access centre, although there have been attempts to try to set up appointments. Her voice has been so affected by ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, that she can no longer use the telephone and must rely on e-mail for communication. That is making it more difficult to set up appointments for treatment.

Bushie said last week the access centre told him it does not have nurses available to care for his friend, since the nursing agency that complained about Mettinen- Kekalainen refused to treat her.

Mettinen-Kekalainen suffers from asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by autistic-like behaviour and deficiencies in social and communication skills.

Murray said social work students hope their protest will get more people in the community talking about Mettinen-Kekalainen's situation. They also hope it will cause the access centre to reconsider its position on her care and prompt Bartolucci to get more active in her case.