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Bogus B.C. nurse class-action suit certified

The class covers all residents of Canada who were patients at BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre, and received treatments directly or indirectly from Brigitte Cleroux from June 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
2021-09-01 nurse fraud ottawa
Brigitte Cleroux. Photo: Ottawa Police Service

B.C. Supreme Court has certified a class-action suit against the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) for those affected by the activities of an alleged bogus nurse.

Justice Michael Stephens’ decision said Brigitte Cleroux, who was alleged to be an unlicensed nurse, was involved directly or indirectly in the provision of nursing care to some 1,150 patients who attended for gynecological surgical procedures while working at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

Cleroux has already been convicted in connections with similar activities in Ontario.

She is currently expected to plead guilty to similar B.C. allegations soon in Vancouver Provincial Court.

Patient Miranda Massie, the representative claimant in the case, initiated the class-action suit. Massie claimed negligence, battery, breach of privacy, vicarious liability, and damages, including aggregate and punitive damages.

Stephens did not accede to all items in the proposed action such as harm and battery as they are individual items.

Still, he did rule there are common issues for the claim of breach of privacy and the PHSA’s related alleged vicarious liability, and punitive damages.

“I certify a class action on this basis,” Stephens said.

The proposed class is all residents of Canada who were patients at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre and received treatments directly or indirectly from Cleroux from June 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

In its defence, PHSA responded that Cleroux fraudulently worked for PHSA from June 22, 2020 until on or about June 23, 2021, and claimed to be trained as a procedural sedation nurse. She was not permitted to work in the operating room (OR) during procedures involving general anaesthetic and anaesthesiologist-led sedation and was permitted in the operating room only when administering procedural sedation.

PHSA pleaded Cleroux worked under the name ‘Melanie Smith’ and its evidence is that on a daily basis she worked as a general duty nurse in the pre-operative part of the Gynecological Surgical Services Program.

“The defendant PHSA’s evidence is that Ms. Cleroux did not claim to be an OR-trained nurse and was never assigned as a nurse in the OR during procedures where patients underwent general anaesthetic or anesthesiologist-led sedation,” Stephens said.