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Lionel Desmond inquiry calls for improved sharing of medical files

An inquiry that investigated why a former soldier in Nova Scotia killed three family members and himself in 2017 says health-care professionals could have done a better job of sharing Lionel Desmond’s complex medical history.

The much-delayed final report from the provincial fatality inquiry was released today and includes 25 recommendations to improve support for veterans, expand health-care services for African Nova Scotians and strengthen firearms control.

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During 53 days of hearings, the inquiry learned the former infantryman was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression in 2011 after he saw intense combat in Afghanistan in 2007.

Though he received four years of treatment while he was in the military, the inquiry heard that his mental health was still poor and his marriage was in trouble when he was medically released from the Armed Forces in 2015.

More importantly, the inquiry was told the 33-year-old former corporal did not receive any therapeutic treatment during the four months after he returned home to Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., in August 2016.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle and later that day used it to fatally shoot his 31-year-old wife, Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliya, and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda, before he turned the gun on himself.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press


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