Moncton mother upset charges not laid against nurse accused of administering oxytocin

Moncton mother floored to learn charges would not get pursued against nurse
A Moncton mother who claims was administered a labour-inducing drug says she was floored to learn charges would not be pursued against nurse Nicole Ruest. Shelley Steeves reports.

A possible victim of a nurse who allegedly administered a labour-inducing drug to women without their consent says she is “floored” charges are not being laid.

“Who is going to take the blame then? Who is going to pay for this?” said Amy Miller, who received a call from RCMP on Tuesday about the decision.

Read more: No charges against Moncton Hospital nurse accused of administering labour-inducing drug

Nicole Ruest was arrested in November 2019 in connection with a string of premature births at the Moncton Hospital.

“Public Prosecutions Services reviewed this file and it was determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges,” stated Paul Bradley, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Attorney General.

Ruest was accused of administering oxytocin to women without their consent. The drug is a naturally occurring hormone that causes contractions of the uterus, speeds up labour and can help control post-delivery bleeding.

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However, its use requires close monitoring because it can, among other things, affect the fetal heart rate.

A Horizon Health investigation found that at least two women required urgent C-sections as a result of the drug being administered.

RCMP make arrest in connection with labour-inducing drug case
RCMP make arrest in connection with labour-inducing drug case

Miller, who said that she once considered Ruest a friend, believes she may have been one of the women to whom the drug was administered.

On Tuesday she told Global News she is frustrated with the Crown for not giving her a chance for a day in court.

“I want my story to be heard,” she said.

“I want to literally sit there in front of a jury and in front of a court and I want them to close their eyes and picture them being in my place.”

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Miller said she and Ruest became friends after the nurse helped deliver three of her older children.

Their friendship ended after Ruest was involved in the delivery of her now 2-year-old son, Hunter, who was born by emergency C-section in 2018.

“The doctor said, ‘there is no anesthesiologist in the hospital I have to cut into you now,'” Miller said, recalling the ordeal.

She said she still suffers from PTSD and physical complications as a result of the experience.

Read more: Lawyer says hundreds concerned by N.B. class-action involving induced labour

Miller is also one of several women involved in a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming that Ruest improperly gave them oxytocin and that Moncton Hospital and Horizon Health Network knew or should have known about it.

“I just want someone to admit they knew, that is all I want,” said Miller.

Ruest and her lawyer deny the allegations in the proposed lawsuit and the case has not been proven in court.

Mathieu Picard is one of the lawyers representing the women and said it is “unfortunate” that they will not be able to have answers through the criminal process.

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Lawsuit involving alleged misuse of labour-inducing drug at Moncton Hospital in court
Lawsuit involving alleged misuse of labour-inducing drug at Moncton Hospital in court

However, the civil case is moving ahead.

“The criminal proceedings require a higher burden of proof which is not the case for civil proceedings and as such it does not have much impact on the civil proceedings for now,” said Picard.

An email statement released to Global News by Ruest’s lawyer, Andrew Faith, said that the decision to not lay charges by the Crown acknowledges that the allegations were unfounded.

“Nicole lost her job and has been prohibited from serving her community since March 2019 on the strength of unsubstantiated claims,” said Faith.

“Nicole has always maintained her innocence and intends to vigorously reclaim her dignity and reputation—and most importantly, her role as a care provider—in the months and years ahead.”

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