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LOCAL NEWS

QEH doctors, province being sued by toddler's family

QEH doctors, province being sued by toddler's family

CBC News
The parents of a two-year-old Charlottetown girl are suing four emergency room doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the province.

Melissa Driscoll and Danny Roche say their daughter is severely brain damaged because of inadequate medical treatment.

In January 2011, Melissa Driscoll took her then eight-month-old daughter, Emma, to the emergency room at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The family says the baby had a cough and coarse breathing.

The next couple of days led to some tragic events and a lawsuit.

What follows is the family's version of events as laid out in their statement of claim.

The family said the first emergency room physician, Dr. Kate Ellis-Ghiz, diagnosed Emma with a fever and a respiratory infection, recommended Tylenol and Advil, and sent Emma home.

The next day, the family returned to the emergency room.

They said Emma was assessed by Dr. Pauline Champion and pediatrician Dr. Peter Noonan, who diagnosed the child as having influenza.

Province denies allegations

Again Emma was sent home.

Her condition worsened and the family returned to the emergency room just a couple of hours later.

After that, the court papers lay out almost an hour-by-hour deterioration of Emma's condition.

She was diagnosed with severe croup, became unresponsive and suffered respiratory arrest. Then her heart stopped.

The family said pediatrician Mitchell Zelman responded and eventually got her heart beating again.

Emma was flown to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, where, according to the family, tests confirmed she had severe brain injury.

The statement of claim makes numerous allegations against the four doctors, including that they were "generally negligent" and "discharged an infant who was clearly ill." It also said the doctors used "defective and poorly maintained equipment."

The family is suing for an unspecified amount of damages for pain and suffering and future costs of Emma's care.

Lawyers for the doctors said they will file a defence in mid-September.

The P.E.I. government is denying all allegations.

The government's statement of defence said any injuries to Emma were caused by the negligence of her parents by:

- "exposing the minor Emma Roche to a sick child"

- "failing to comply with medical advice"

- "failing to follow treatment recommended."

Driscoll and Roche have hired a Halifax law firm called Wagners. They plan a news conference Friday.

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