CALGARY — A 38-year-old disabled woman who died while under the care of her 70-year-old mother had not received medical treatment for the last four years of her life and weighed just over 50 pounds when she died.
That's what court was told Tuesday on the first day of the trial of Patricia Couture, who is charged with criminal negligence causing the death of her daughter, Melissa.
Crown prosecutor Kyra Kondro said police found dozens of notebooks in the home along with information on alternative medicine, vitamin supplements and various bottles of prescribed and herbal medicines.
A paramedic team testified the Calgary home shared by the pair had a pungent smell that was likely a combination of feces, urine and decay.
Paramedic Jill MacEachern said the daughter, who had cerebral palsy, was found lying on the couch wearing pyjamas and an adult diaper on April 26, 2016.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Melissa lived with severe mental and physical disabilities, including hearing loss, visual impairment and stiffness in her extremities.
Her mind was that of a three or four-year-old and she was completely immobile.
Court was also told the last record of her receiving medical care was from an emergency room visit in 2012 when she was having trouble swallowing.
Paramedic Amanda Myers testified that the accused, who called 911 after finding her daughter, was acting anxious and erratic.
She told the paramedics her daughter had bedsores on her tailbone that were healing.
Court also heard blood was found on her clothes and her teeth were decayed to the gumline.
Dr. Maitreyi Raman testified Melissa's death could have been prevented had she received appropriate medical care and nutrition.
The doctor testified she was extremely malnourished, and had not appeared to have received adequate care for at least a year.
The 70-year-old was originally charged with failure to provide the necessaries of life, but that charge was later upgraded.
If convicted, she could face life in prison.
The Canadian Press