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Report sheds light on care home death

August 17, 2016 3:22 P.M.


A coroner has ruled the death of a senior in a Vernon care facility a homicide, but has made no recommendations.

On Aug. 19, 2013, police and ambulance crews were called to the special care unit of the Polson Extended Care Centre after a resident was attacked by another resident.

John Furman, who had recently moved to the centre, attacked longtime resident William May, 85. May died from his injuries.

Furman was originally charged with murder, but the decorated war veteran was found unfit to stand trial due to his advanced dementia.

Furman died in a Kamloops hospital in 2014.

An aide called 911 when it was discovered May had been attacked. When police arrived they found May dead in his bed, apparently from multiple blunt-force trauma.

In her report, coroner Margaret Janzen said Furman displayed no signs of aggression toward staff or other residents before he was moved into a room with May.

Janzen said when the care aide and nurse entered the room they found May lying on his bed with Furman standing over him with a blood-covered shelf from a wardrobe above his head as if to strike May.

Furman was “highly agitated and speaking angrily. He was not making sense and was referring to 'bunkers' and saying the nurse was 'one of them'.”

Furman then made threatening motions toward staff when they tried to come to May's aid.

Janzen said Furman had been previously diagnosed with dementia that had become so severe he was no longer able to live on his own.

“He was confused about where he was and expressed a desire to go home,” said Janzen's report. “He had been a member of a special forces team in World War II that was involved in combat including hand-to-hand fighting.”

Janzen ruled May's death as a homicide, but made no recommendations. Homicide is a neutral term that does not imply fault or blame.

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