We have kindly been provided with the journal of Clare Wills Harrison, a lawyer for the elderly, who first spoke out about Midazolam and care home deaths in June 2020.
Clare kept a journal from March 2020 until recently. It is a harrowing account of what she witnessed through the lens of her work and gives explosive insight into the shut down of the care and legal system, the effect on her clients and the wider UK population and how in turn this impacted her and her family. It is raw, disturbing and personal.
We, and Lawyers of Light have been authorised to publish parts of the journal, and will be running a series of posts starting today.
We understand the full journal is to be published as a free e book in due course. You can read the first extracts below.
Extracts from “Pandemic diary of a front line lawyer for the eldery” – kindly provided by the family of Clare Wills Harrison – Part 1
Tuesday 10th March 2020
This is my first journal entry to document what is happening right now. For some reason I feel its going to be really important for the future. I don’t know why.
All over the news are scenes of Italy and other European countries. Italy went into a full country shut down yesterday after having closed schools and universities a few days ago. I don’t like the sound of not being able to go and get food when you need to. It all seems strange.
I saw Mr & Mrs XXXXX today to discuss XXXXX. He works for Defra and he openly said to me that he guarantees we will be in a full shut down like Italy in 2 weeks. That tells me they know at govt level already. So they must be planning? And why would you do that and not just shut down immediately if necessary? Logistics?
I’m really worried about my elderly clients if we shut down. How will they be looked after if they live alone? What if they triage hospital appointments and give priority to younger people?
I’ve booked to see Mrs XXXX this week as she is in hospital. I need to get in and see her and also see if there is any panic in the hospital itself. Mrs XXXX needs to sign some papers so I can help get her moved to XXXXX care home ASAP. I’m really concerned about getting her out of hospital in case we do go into a shut down as I don’t know what that will look like.
I’ve got a really bad feeling about all of this. My husband says I’m being over sensitive but I feel like there is a big black cloud hovering over us all.
Thursday 12th March 2020
At work today it was really busy. People seem to be panicking and they are calling to get all sorts of paperwork done. There seems to be a sense of urgency.
I spoke to XXXXX and XXXXX care homes today to check on XXXXX and XXXXX. They are fine and I openly asked the managers if they are worried and do they have new protocols. XXXXX said they get all sorts of industry briefings and at the moment they are open as usual etc. She sounded quite OK but did say, like normal, the care sector would be the last to get any help. I know what she means. They always get shit on. She said I could go and see XXXXX if I wanted to, not a problem.
Thursday 19th March 2020
I’ve been listening to the news on the radio on LBC. I don’t know why I do it. The constant doom and gloom is enough to make people scared out of their wits. And I really CANNOT STAND some of the presenters. JOB is especially rude to everyone so I never listen to him anyway. Don’t even know if he’s on at the moment.
This coronavirus is being made out to be a plague by the media, but I’ve looked up Coronaviruses and they are what gives colds. I’m assuming this is more deadly. And that makes me wonder how?
I am going to look at the ONS death figures shortly to see what they usually are. If I don’t do something logical then I fear I might get sucked into believing this is a desperate situation, as there seems to be a collective panic and I’m buying into it.
Spoke to alot of clients today to check on them. All the ones in the local care homes are fine and none of the homes are reporting anything too disturbing. XXXXX said he is looking at it like it is the flu, which sadly is always bad every year. He feels its just come a bit later than usual.
No one understands the media hype over it at the moment but he did say the scenes from Italy look disturbing. I said I had seen the report of some people starving as they couldn’t get out to get food. I mean how can that even happen? Shouldn’t there be plans so that is never an issue?
Spoke to Mum and [my brother], the latter briefly, tonight. Did say to him that as he can’t get out and about easily to maybe order some extra bits in his online shopping. I decided to tell him what my Defra client had said. Obvs I kept the client name anonymous. Of course XXXXX dismissed it. But as I know, he always has to admit I’m right in the end so he will be saying sorry and I will be saying I told you so!!!! Although in this situation I actually hope I’m wrong and we don’t shut down.
Sunday 22nd March
The whole family had all planned to get together this weekend for all the birthdays and mothers day celebrations, as they all happen within a few weeks of each other. Anyway it got cancelled in case we kill each other by sneezing on each other.
So me and XXXXX went shopping and stopped off to get a breakfast whilst there. If the table got sprayed once by the woman it got sprayed 5 times. Seriously! There are more chemicals in the bloody spray that will hurt you over any germs!!
And what is it with the loo roll thing????
Monday 23rd March
Well Defra client was right. Tonight Johnson “instructed” the British public to stay at home. So everything is going to shut down for a few weeks. However, my understanding is that if you can’t work at home then you can go in to the office.
I don’t see how, as a solicitors, we can just close. How can we serve any clients with urgent needs if we do? But I’m worried about the staff at the office. They are scared and I can’t reasonably expect them to come to work if they are fearful. I don’t want to be a bad boss and they have their own families to think of.
I’m going to run it past the regulators tomorrow. I will go in to the office alone and tell the other staff to stay home. If I have to work at home it’s going to be a bloody nightmare. How am I supposed to protect confidentiality and meet my “know your client” expectations if I can’t see people in person?
I don’t think the government realise that peoples problems don’t stop just because the public sector shuts down. Oh and I bet the public sector are still getting full pay too.
How the hell are the private sector supposed to pay office bills and wages if we are not open for business?
I can take a salary cut I guess, or not get paid, but I need to make sure the staff still get paid.
There is talk of some sort of financial support for businesses. A few of the firms have set up a what’s app group to discuss. Like anything government though, I bet it will take bloody ages for the support to trickle through.
Me and XXXXX looked at the ONS death figures tonight for the last 2 or so years. He is always so calm. Pointed out to me that in January 2018 over 60,000 died of flu. I never even knew!! Like he said, you only know what the media wants to program you with. He thinks this is bollocks. I don’t know what scares me more. That it might be real or it might be bollocks, as the latter would mean that something very nefarious is going on. I have an idea of what that could be, but I just never thought it would be in my lifetime.
Feeling actually quite low tonight. I don’t know why, but this time feels so strange. Like a massive ending.
Tuesday 24th March 2020
Went into the office this morning. Was alone as I told the staff to stay home until further notice. Emailed XXXXX at the regulators. He agreed it was sensible to close. I said I would do so for 2 weeks and see how it went. I’m not built for home working. I hate it. At least we are cloud and VOIP based so I can get everything switched over for home. However the paper files and the stationery are another matter. I felt like I was moving house getting it all into the home office.
Must remember to get a notice put on the website so people know we are closed, although I suspect people will realise.
I still haven’t seen any increase in deaths of clients yet, and that is at least a good thing.
Spoke to Mum once I got home. She told me that XXXXX hairdresser has a sister who deals with hair etc for MPs (is that even a thing?) and she has said she was at some place doing her thing for ministers and overheard a phone call where there was some talk of a lab in China that had leaked the current pathogen. Who knows if this is utter nonsense, but nothing would surprise me.
Spent the rest of the afternoon calling as many clients as I could to check on them, and let them know I was home working. Alot of the older ones were really scared and I tried to reassure them. They are going to end up killing themselves with worry! But then so will I as the ones in care homes are now effectively locked in and I am concerned about them as a result. I have a strategy for this as XXXXX at the regulators said solicitors are going to be exempt from alot of things. So I am going to use this and insist I am allowed into the care homes for my clients. I need to check on them and make sure they are OK!
Wednesday 25th March – first day of home working
Today was the first day of home working. I finished what I could on matters and then to be honest, it was deathly quiet. I think everyone is just going to treat these next 2 weeks as a holiday. So I may not be busy. Maybe that will be nice? Given Johnson said that this will only be a couple of weeks, maybe we will be back to normal in no time. Why don’t I believe that?
It’s actually not nice to be off for these 2 weeks. There is nothing to do as everything is shut, and I am not going to spend the next 2 weeks looking at the news. No way. Went back on to Facebook again as a result. I haven’t historically really used it much personally, but I wanted to get a sense of the vibe. Lots of fear on there.
I know I’m going to be bored if I don’t do something. As much as I do not like charities (corruption and offices in London that are uber expensive), I contacted our local small Red Cross group to sign up to help with food deliveries to the elderly and vulnerable. That way at least I can check on the type of people I normally help and I can see if they are getting everything they need.
The local group have said they will be in touch soon as there might be deliveries needed this week. As early as tomorrow or Friday. That doesn’t seem good and I’m worried that vulnerable people are going to suffer as a result of “lockdown”.
Mum is worrying me a bit. She has this thing on her face and I think it might be cancer. She is now waiting to hear. What will happen if it is, given we are now in “lockdown”. I assume she will still get treatment as that would be urgent?…