Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Decorated Halifax Veteran Wins Fight to Be Admitted to Federal Hospital

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Decorated Halifax Veteran Wins Fight to Be Admitted to Federal Hospital

Article excerpt

Halifax veteran admitted to federal hospital

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HALIFAX - The son of a decorated 94-year-old veteran who has been fighting for months for a bed at the federally-funded Camp Hill Veterans Memorial hospital in Halifax said he feels emotional and relieved that his father is getting his wish.

Peter Blendheim, who spells his name differently from his father Petter Blindheim, said he met with Halifax MP Andy Fillmore on Friday and was informed that his father would be admitted as an allied veteran to one of the 13 beds available at the hospital.

"It's emotional for me and emotional for my family," said Blendheim in a phone interview. "Now my father can go there in peace and be happy."

Petter Blindheim, a veteran of the Norwegian Royal Navy and merchant marine, could be admitted as early as next week, his son said.

Ottawa initially rejected entry to Camp Hill for Petter Blindheim last October. The family appealed that decision and in January, Veterans Affairs again refused his entry because it said Norwegian forces fighting from England didn't qualify as official allies.

The department later recanted that position, but last week rejected the former sailor -- who has fallen repeatedly and broken his arm -- on the basis that Ottawa can pay for any necessary care at provincial facilities.

On Friday, Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr announced that Ottawa had reached a new agreement with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to expand veterans' access to beds in the Camp Hill hospital.

Hehr said a review would be conducted to better address long-term care for veterans country-wide.

"The veterans' health care regulations are not currently compassionate or flexible enough to address the urgent needs of our veterans, so as we undertake a review to better address long-term care needs, this measure will provide the flexibility necessary to help veterans and their families," Hehr said in a statement. …

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