Ensuring Humane Care for the Infirm
By Paul Brunet
t age seven, my brother Claude Brunet
was afflicted by cerebral meningitis,
leaving him paraplegic and requiring
daily medical and nursing care.
The condition forced him to live in a
long-term facility in Montréal, where
Claude started to speak up on behalf of his friends
and neighbors in the facility about the poor treat-
ment and conditions. His complaints to the admin-
istration centered on mistreatment of patients by
hospital staff and on the quality of the accommoda-
tions and food.
It was out of these early efforts to represent fellow
patients that the Conseil pour la protection des malades
(Council for the Protection of Patients—CPM) was
born in 1972. Claude rented an office in downtown
Montréal in 1974 and hired several lawyers to support
his goal of securing patients’ rights and their representation in medical facilities.
For over 30 years, the CPM has been deeply involved
in patients’ rights cases across Canada. It helped es-
tablish the right to form patient committees in public
and semiprivate health facilities in Québec to repre-
sent patient demands. And Claude led the successful
campaign that resulted in the introduction of handi-
cap-accessible transportation in Canada.
Paul Brunet is chairman of the board of directors
of the Conseil pour la protection des malades.
“Claude led the successful campaign
that resulted in the introduction of
Patient rights activist
Claude Brunet in an
undated family photo.
COUR TESY OF PAUL G. BRUNE T
Americas Quarterly SPRING 2012