Esther’s Voice

Your voices

We have literally heard over the years from hundreds who have been impacted by the healthcare system. Some families write long letters, just needing to put their thoughts in order. Of course we can not answer the medical issues of these letters, but we can acknowledge the pain and often this is an essential first step. Our most cherished letters are those from the nursing community; amazing young people entering the profession and vowing to use Esther as a symbol; and other nurses who have been in the system for years, battling its many problems and sharing with us that Esther’s story has given them a renewed pledge to think of the person and not just the symptoms or the fear of speaking out. We are sharing a few of these emails here that are representative of so many more:

“All those involved in this case should pause for a moment of reflection, forgetting who they are for a moment, and envision themselves and their Mom or Dad in this situation, and look within their hearts and say, ‘Is this the level of care I would want for my family?”

BPDelta, BC, 2004

“As a future nurse, your story has not only touched me but has allowed me to re-evaluate my own practice, safety issues, and the importance of involving family in client’s care. It has taught me to not make assumptions about what is happening with a client but instead rule out causes with evidence-based practice, lab tests, physical assessments skills, collaboration with other health care personnel, and with families who possess the most knowledge about their loved ones.. I feel a great need to act as a stronger advocate for my clients and to find my own voice as a future nurse leader”

LWCourtenay, BC, 2004

“As a nurse who focuses on quality and patient safety I was wondering if it would be OK to use this story as an example for staff nurses?”

Kelley[at Rhode Island Hospital, USA] 2008

“Thank you for allowing us to learn from this sad experience you have had. I thought I wanted to get into geriatric care before, but after reading what happened to your mother I am positive that I want to get into that field. Your story has made me want to make a difference in the lives of our elders.”

3rd year nursing studentUniversity of the Fraser Valley

“I feel that when a doctor is treating a patient he/she must see the family beyond his/her patient. In other words, he/she is not only treating that one patient, he/she is in some way treating the entire family…”


“I am a GP myself and I wanted you to know that I will remember your mother’s story and take it as a personal message to continue to try and improve myself as a doctor.”


“I hope it may be some small comfort to you to know that you have helped others by sharing your experience in this way. I think it not unlikely that you may have saved lives.”

MCVancouver, 2002

“I came to your website and was moved and enormously impressed by your determination and dedication to righting a very obvious wrong. Your ability to separate grieving from pursuing justice is utterly amazing.”

DGVancouver, 2002

“I am glad that I read your story when I did. Had I blindly trusted a doctor in my mother’s case and not pushed for a second opinion, my mom may have suffered a similar fate… by the way, her name is Esther”

GCVancouver, 2002

“As a registered nurse for over 10 years in BC .. I can say that your mothers’ experience occurs more often than we realize.. besides giving Esther a voice, the family’s action is also voicing what nurses in the system have repeatedly said, but have not been heard and do not have enough power to change.”


“After reading your story I believe the answer is to always have an ‘advocate’ for when a patient goes into the hospital. The family should be able to hire one privately if necessary … ex nurses who know what they are talking about, authorized by the patient beforehand.”


“I truly believe that by telling your Mum’s story, others in similar situations may be given the courage to ask difficult questions that they may not otherwise have asked and pushed for more knowledge and information that they previously might have seen as unnecessary. This should help avoid other tragic outcomes.”

JMVancouver 2002

“Hopefully more people in the health care field will take the time to visit your web site as I know we can all learn something from your family’s story. I am a family doctor and want to post your story on my web site so my patients can access it.”


“I am a nurse myself and take pride being a strong patient advocate in the community. I think one of the reasons nursing care is subpar in many areas is there is a lack of mentorship or follow-up for nurses with little experience. … I do get tired of hearing nurses don’t have time due to a nursing shortage. I believe we should stop using this as a crutch and adapt to it. Nursing shortage should not be the excuse to neglect a patient with acute/urgent needs…”


“Your mom’s story continues to affect many nurses with whom I speak to at our hospital’s orientation. It gives them time to reflect on the nursing practice and how they might influence the lives of older adults so that they are cared for with the dignity, respect and empathy.”


“I have been the facilitator for the fall prevention program and the Geriatric CNS at our facility for over 6 years. I am constantly looking for ways to assist staff in being sensitive to the effects of the care they provide to our older inpatients, not only in fall prevention, but in all areas. I just read Esther's Story and found it said much in a succinct, meaningful way. Would it be possible to receive your permission to use this as part of an electronic educational opportunity for staff?”

KSGood Samaritan Hospital, Ohio

“As a registered nurse I am extremely embarrassed by what your mother went through. The health care profession failed her. I personally have experienced difficulty in working through the system from the other side and this always reminds me that each patient needs to be treated with dignity. I find that the elderly are taken advantage of as they generally do not like to make waves.”

PBVancouver, 2010

“I have read Esther's story with great emotion and distress. My job is to express the voice of the patient. I wanted you to know that I will emphasize the need to see the older patient as a thriving, valued human being. Listen to the patient and listen to the family. Healthcare professionals become desensitized and begin to think all older people are confused and living in nursing homes.”


“I am currently taking an introduction to Critical Care at Humber College and your website was ‘required’ reading. I am astonished and saddened at the state of health care provided or NOT provided surrounding the time of your mom’s death. I think the recent years of establishing “Critical Care Response Teams” in hospitals which are accessible by patient’s , families and their Nurse’s have probably saved many lives. These teams devote themselves to the care of any patient in any unit on a 24 hour basis to address any concern WITHOUT the need for a MD referral. I think a BRILLIANT resource. After reading your Mom’s story, I can honestly say that I will be a better Nurse and will advocate even more than I already do.”

HGOntario, 2012

“The students and I are so sorry for your Loss. Esther has inspired us all to be more vigilant nurses. Your story has moved us all through many iterations of emotion. Thank you for sharing your painful story. We examined your journal and used it to create scenarios around points of advocacy and the importance of courageous competence. The student’s all practiced being Esther’s voice. Esther’s voice is being heard. I believe her spirit will be with these nurses throughout their career. In the hard moments Esther will whisper in their ear ‘find your courage, speak up’. Thank you. God’s speed.”


“I think that silence can perpetuate the pain and suffering of others, and at least with myself and my 31 nursing students, your voice has been heard, and more importantly, Esther’s voice has been heard.
Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of Esther’s journey.”

STUniversity of the Fraser Valley 2013