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Patient lawsuits say fake nurse caused ‘excruciating’ pain, loss of trust in health-care system

Patient lawsuits say fake nurse caused ‘excruciating’ pain, loss of trust in health-care system

Seven ladies who say a serial imposter posing as a nurse left them in “excruciating” ache, uncovered them to an infection, injured them or personally insulted them have all filed lawsuits, alleging negligence by the operators of the Vancouver hospital the place Brigitte Cleroux labored for a yr.

The seven new claims, filed in B.C. Supreme Courtroom final week, additionally elevate issues that Cleroux, who has by no means accomplished nursing faculty or held a sound licence, was allowed entry to the sufferers’ private data and medical information. They are saying this left them susceptible to fraud and identification theft by somebody with an extended historical past of comparable crimes.

The lawsuits every title 52-year-old Cleroux, the Provincial Well being Providers Authority (PHSA) and the B.C. Faculty of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) as defendants, alleging each the well being authority and the school are vicariously answerable for bodily ache and psychological struggling brought on by Cleroux’s actions throughout gynecological surgical procedures at B.C. Ladies’s Hospital.

Not one of the allegations within the claims have been confirmed in courtroom, and no responses to the lawsuits have been filed.

Imprisoned in Ontario, Cleroux awaits Vancouver trial

Spokespeople for the PHSA, which runs the hospital, and BCCNM, which regulates nursing in B.C., each mentioned they have been unable to remark whereas the matter is earlier than the courts. 

Cleroux’s legal defence lawyer, Chris Johnson, advised CBC that he and his consumer have been unaware of the brand new lawsuits and subsequently unable to remark.

Cleroux is at present in jail in Ontario, serving a seven-year sentence for crimes together with impersonation, assault with a weapon and assault associated to her time posing as a nurse at a fertility clinic and a dental clinic in Ottawa in 2021.

She is awaiting trial in Vancouver for 17 legal fees associated to her time at B.C. Ladies’s Hospital between June 2020 and June 2021, together with allegations of assaulting 10 sufferers.

An aerial photo shows a hospital campus surrounded by trees and single-family homes, with the Vancouver skyline, English Bay and the North Shore mountains in the background.
Brigitte Cleroux labored at B.C. Ladies’s Hospital in Vancouver for a yr. (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

She has additionally been charged with impersonation and fraud in Surrey, B.C., the place she is accused of defrauding a neighborhood dental surgeon in 2020. 

CBC has confirmed that Cleroux impersonated a nurse at a personal surgical procedure clinic in Victoria and at a long-term care residence in Vancouver throughout her time in B.C. as properly, though she has not been charged with any crimes in reference to these positions.

In all, Cleroux has amassed a minimum of 67 legal convictions as an grownup. She has been accused or convicted of pretending to be a nurse in Colorado, Ontario, Alberta and B.C., and has posed as a instructor in Alberta and Quebec.

Warnings of a ‘downside nurse’

The brand new lawsuits define a spread of alleged misconduct by Cleroux that the seven ladies say left them with lasting psychological injury together with post-traumatic stress dysfunction, despair, anxiousness and mistrust of the health-care system. 

They embody claims of Cleroux improperly administering ache medicine throughout surgical procedure, leaving three sufferers in such “excruciating ache” that their medical doctors allegedly needed to pause and even cancel their procedures. 4 sufferers allege Cleroux despatched them residence with insufficient medicine that brought about them to have severe ache for days after surgical procedure.

One lady’s declare describes Cleroux making “quite a few damaging and disparaging feedback” about her fertility issues and talent to care for a kid. These insults, the lawsuit alleges, brought about the affected person to delay her plans for an embryo switch.

One other affected person’s discover of civil declare alleges Cleroux brought about her “pointless and excruciating ranges of discomfort and ache” and put her liable to an infection in the course of the failed insertion of an IV line earlier than surgical procedure in October 2020.

Her discover of declare describes Cleroux as hostile and dismissive, and alleges that after a number of unsuccessful makes an attempt to insert a needle in her arm “dealt with the plaintiff in an aggressive method, utilizing her knees and physique weight to carry her down, inflicting the plaintiff to worry for her security.”

A closeup photo shows the gloved hands of a health-care worker in green surgical scrubs, holding a piece of gauze above an array of surgical tools.
The Provincial Well being Providers Authority has mentioned that Brigitte Cleroux was concerned within the care of 899 sufferers at B.C. Ladies’s Hospital. (Chanawit/Shutterstock)

Cleroux nicked the affected person’s artery in the course of the battle, the declare alleges, inflicting her to lose blood. Finally, one other nurse needed to insert the IV.

The affected person claims she was later approached by two hospital employees members who described Cleroux as a “downside nurse.”

The day after the surgical procedure, the identical affected person alleges she obtained a name from the hospital advising her to get an HIV take a look at as a result of Cleroux had additionally been pricked by a needle whereas she was wrestling to insert the IV.

One more affected person’s declare alleges an improperly inserted IV broken her nerves or blood vessels, nonetheless inflicting ache and weak point years later.

Every of the sufferers alleges battery, privateness violations and negligence.

LISTEN | Sharing the weird story of a serial imposter: 

The Present23:47The Skilled: the weird story of serial imposter Brigitte Cleroux

Brigitte Cleroux labored as a nurse, a instructor, and extra — however she was a serial imposter, with out {qualifications}. The CBC’s Bethany Lindsay brings us her documentary The Skilled, through which the individuals who got here nose to nose with Cleroux share their tales and confusion about how this might ever have occurred.

Cleroux can be the topic of a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by sufferers at B.C. Ladies’s Hospital. 

PHSA filings in that case have revealed that she was concerned within the remedy of 899 sufferers throughout her time on the hospital.

The well being authority has mentioned that Cleroux used the title of an actual nurse, Melanie Smith, when she utilized to work at B.C. Ladies’s, however advised directors she didn’t have a registration quantity but as a result of she had just lately transferred from Ontario.

Paperwork filed by PHSA present that due to Cleroux’s deception, the well being authority is now confirming each the title and licence of each nurse it hires. 

Cleroux’s subsequent look in legal courtroom is scheduled for June 21 in Vancouver.

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