UPDATE: Family suing QEH, doctors hold emotional news conference

Published on August 31, 2012
QEH Ambulatory

The parents of a baby girl who is suing four emergency room doctors from the QEH and the province held a news conference this morning in Charlottetown.

Melissa Driscoll and Danny Roche shared an emotional account of their statement of claim, filed in P.E.I.’s Supreme Court in June. They allege their daughter Emma Roche, now 2, sufferedsevere brain damage after receiving improper medical care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown in early 2011.

None of their allegations have been proven in court.

But that didn’t stop Driscoll, Roche their lawyer Raymond Wagner from Halifax and family friend Martie Murphy from detailing their side of the story.

About 80 friends and family attended the press conference. A large screen displayed photos and videos of a happy, healthy baby girl – images captured before she fell ill on Jan. 30, 2011 and was taken to the QEH.

Emma now has severe brain damage, has no ability to move on her own and can only eat through a feeding tube that has been surgically implanted into her stomach.

In a statement of claim filed June 27, Emma Roche's parents alleged the doctors and the government, through the QEH, were negligent in the girl's treatment.

Dr. Kate Ellis-Ghiz, Dr. Pauline Champion, Dr. Peter Noonan and Dr. Mitchell Zelman are the physicians who treated Roche during several visits to the hospital over a two-day period.

Ellis-Ghiz is Premier Robert Ghiz's wife.

The statement of claim alleges Emma, who was less than one year old at the time, was exposed to a sick child in January 2011.

For all of the doctors named in the claim, it alleged they were generally negligent in the care they provided Emma and that her care was below the standard of an emergency room on-call doctor. The claim also alleged the hospital's employees, servants and contractors were negligent in the medical services they provided Emma.

The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

In its statement of defence, the government said it provided a reasonable and appropriate level of care to Emma at all times. It also said any injuries Emma suffered were because of decisions, treatments and procedures explained to the plaintiffs, to which they consented. The statement of defence said any injuries suffered weren't because of negligence.

It went further in saying any injuries were a result of the plaintiffs' negligence, including exposing Emma to a sick child and failing to take all precautions to prevent the spread of the illness to her. The statement of defence alleged the plaintiffs failed to provide a complete medical history and didn't follow medical advice or recommended treatment.

Although the doctors haven't filed their defence yet, they have filed a notice of intent to defend, which gives them extra time.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

 

The Guardian will have much more on this story in the print-edition of the newspaper on Saturday.