N.S. government added to lawsuit over deaths at long term care home

Click to play video: 'Northwood study examining UV-C light for reducing viral infections in seniors' Northwood study examining UV-C light for reducing viral infections in seniors
Two local long-term care homes are taking part in research to see if ultra violet light can reduce infections like COVID-19 and influenza. The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in North America. Alicia Draus reports. – Nov 15, 2021

The province of Nova Scotia has been added as a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit against a long-term care facility in Halifax where 53 people died from COVID-19 in the spring of 2020.

In a statement today, the Wagners law firm says the amended lawsuit alleges the province was negligent in its regulation and oversight of the Northwood facility.

It also alleges that repeated budget cuts by the government and freezes to long-term care spending left residents at increased risk to the rapid spread of infectious disease.

Read more: Staff member at Northwood facility in Halifax tests positive for COVID-19

The statement of claim, which was initially filed in June 2020 and contains allegations that have not been proven in court, alleged the Northwood facility breached its obligations to residents through “inaction and inadequate response.”

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It also claimed the facility’s practices caused the untimely deaths of residents and harms, losses and damages to their surviving family members.

Read more: After tough year, N.S. care homes find hope in vaccine, look for meaningful reform

The proposed lawsuit has not yet been certified by the court.

“Class members still don’t have answers about the chaotic outbreak, acknowledgments that actionable steps will be taken to prevent such a tragedy in the future, or even an apology,” lawyer Ray Wagner said. “These remedies are, to some, just as important as compensation for the loss of their loved ones sought by the action.”

Representative plaintiff Erica Surette has said that she lost her 66-year-old mother, Patricia West, on April 22, 2020, after West had been moved from a single to a shared room in the midst of the outbreak at Northwood.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2022.

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