On Justice for Annie Farlow

The following letter was sent today regarding the case of Annie Farlow. For more info, see www.anniefarlow.com and the Facebook group Justice for Annie. Those who share the concerns expressed in the letter, especially those in Ontario, are encouraged to contact their MLAs or the Premier about the case and express your concern.

The Honourable Rick Bartolucci
Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services
25 Grosvenor St,18th Flr
Toronto ON M7A 1Y6
Tel : 416-325-0408     Fax : 416-325-6067
Toll Free: 1-866-517-0571           2nd June, 2009.

Dear Mr. Bartolucci,

I am writing to you directly in the matter of the case of the death of Annie Farlow, a case with which I believe you are familiar. I am a university professor, a Canadian citizen, and was formerly a resident of Ontario, when I taught at Queen’s University in the 1990s. I have become familiar with many details from the case through my work as the founder and coordinator of the What Sorts of People Network, a large-scale, Canadian-based network of about 80 scholars, teachers, and community organizers with a focus on issues in which disability, health, and technology intersect. I have read and reviewed much about the Farlow case, including much of the correspondence that has passed between the Farlows, the hospital, and government offices, including your own. I have grave concerns about the case, some of which directly concern your Ministry, although they are not yet concerns about the Ministry as such.

While there are many aspects of the treatment and death of Annie Farlow in the country’s leading hospital for sick children that I believe should be of concern to the average Canadian citizen, my reason for writing is to convey to you directly my view that the position that your Office has taken regarding both the decision not to compel the Office of the Coroner to provide the Forensic Audit Report, and the subsequent decision to decline the parents’ request for a disinterment of their daughter’s body, should be reconsidered.

This is a case in which there are major and significant doubts about the cause of the death of an infant while under the care of the hospital, about the subsequent integrity of coroner’s own report, and about what appears to be an unlawful refusal by the coroner to provide information to which the family is lawfully entitled (section 18.2, Coroner’s Act of Ontario). Continue reading

DisRespect Radio Broadcast: Barb Farlow and Rob Wilson

Many of you have likely been following the case of Annie Farlow (Here is a listing of all our Annie Farlow posts) and were looking forward to listening to yesterday’s radio interview of Barb Farlow and Rob Wilson by Geoff Langhorne. If you are unfamiliar with the case then this interview should provide a succinct introduction to the details of the case in an accessible form. The one thing perhaps unclear in the interview is that Annie was NOT a newborn, but 80 days old, and went in to the hospital 24 hours before her unexpected death.  You can also get more from the recently-formed Justice for Annie Facebook group, which you’re welcome to join (it’s an open group), and the Annie Farlow website linked there.

The interview was broadcast on the CFMU (McMaster Unversity Radio) program DisRespect (Here is a little about the show and the program’s host) and is available for listening/download by doing the following:

  1. Go to the CFMU website (http://cfmu.msumcmaster.ca/)
  2. Click the button near the top left side of the screen that says “PROGRAMMING”
  3. Click on “DisRespect” in the programming grid that appears; you’ll find it at 12pm in the Thursday column
  4. A pop-up window will appear. In the left column, just click “14.05.2009” and the program will start playing. (If it doesn’t, you should be prompted to download some free software that takes less than a minute to download.) DisRespect starts a couple of minutes into the broadcast.
  5. If you would like to downoad the program to your own computer (useful for skipping past the intro and the compulsory musical interludes) then just click “14.05.2009” and once the program starts playing there will be a new box in the bottom of the pop-up window with a download link that you can simply click (Note that the file is 60MB).

An unofficial transcript of the broadcast follows:

Unofficial transcript from DisRespect, with Geoff Langhorne, 14th May, 2009

Geoff: DisRespect welcomes Rob Wilson, who is a professor at the University of Alberta in philosophy is it Rob?,

Rob: ah, that’s right, Geoff.

Geoff: and coordinator with the What Sorts of People Network in Alberta, and Barb Farlow, who was a mechanical engineer and is now an advocate on behalf of people with disabilities in Ontario. Welcome to the show.

Barb: Thank you.

Rob: Thanks for having us.

Geoff: Ok. Barb, this concern that brought you together with Rob started with an incident in your life that our listeners might not be aware of. Do you want to give us the once over lightly?

Barb: Sure, I’ll give you the brief version, Geoff. My daughter died in August of 2005 within 24 hours of arrival at the Hospital for Sick Children. Annie had a genetic condition that was related to disability. Generally the condition comes with very serious anomalies that are considered lethal, such as severe brain defects. However, like all genetic conditions there are a wide range that exist, and my daughter was mildly afflicted. We knew that we would have difficult decisions to make before she was born and ironically we had many meetings at the hospital, specifically to discuss policies and eligibilities for surgery, and ethics and what would happen if this and what if that because we really needed to understand the medical system so that we could properly manage our daughter’s heath within its confines. Once we were assured of the policies, her rights, the ethics, the matter in which any ethical disputes or dilemmas would be resolved, we placed our entire trust in the system. Continue reading

Radio Interview on Annie Farlow

Annie Farlow

Annie Farlow

Tune in to Geoff Langhorne ‘s DisRespect on 93.3 CFMU at McMaster at 12 noon EST on Thursday 14th May to hear a one hour radio interview with Barb Farlow and Rob Wilson on Annie’s case. http://cfmu.msumcmaster.ca/

You can get background on the Farlow case from

  • the Facebook group Justice for Annie
  • previous What Sorts posts on Annie’s treatment, death, and subsequent events here
  • Annie’s website

Please spread the word. The show will be available through the station archive at the above site a few days after it runs. Click “Programming”, then find the show by day and time, then download that particular show.