Nearly 900 patients received care at BC Women’s Hospital from ‘fake nurse’: court document

Click to play video: 'Alleged fake nurse cared for hundreds of patients at B.C. hospital'
Alleged fake nurse cared for hundreds of patients at B.C. hospital
WATCH: New court documents show that alleged fake nurse Bridgitte Cleroux cared for more than 1,100 patients directly or indirectly during her time at BC Women's Hospital. Sarah MacDonald reports – Feb 2, 2023

According to recent court filings, nearly 900 people received care from a woman posing to be a B.C. nurse over the span of a year.

In response to a civil suit, which is part of a proposed class action lawsuit, the Provincial Health Authority revealed Brigitte Cleroux gave care to 899 patients while employed at B.C. Women’s Hospital. The response was filed on Jan. 27, 2023.

From previous court documents, statements of claim describe Cleroux’s negligence while working in B.C. Those claims include discharging a patient prematurely, negligently-initiated IVs, IVs stuck in muscles, unmanaged pain and giving too much pain medication to patients.

Cleroux, who does not have a nursing degree, worked at B.C. Women’s Hospital between June 1, 2020, and June 23, 2021, until she was fired over her false credentials.

Click to play video: 'Woman who posed as fake nurse faces new charges in Vancouver'
Woman who posed as fake nurse faces new charges in Vancouver

Cleroux of Gatineau, Que., was given a seven-year sentence after she pleaded guilty to charges related to a similar scheme in Ontario.

Story continues below advertisement

Her charges included criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, uttering forged documents, and impersonation.

She was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, obtaining by false pretense, uttering forged documents, and personation to gain advantage.

Cleroux also faces charges related to impersonating a medical professional in Vancouver.

According to the BC Prosecution Service, she is charged with 17 offences from incidents between June 2020 and June 2021.

Charges include fraud in excess of $5,000, impersonation, uttering a forged document, assault and assault with a weapon.

Cleroux is scheduled to make her first court appearance in B.C. on Feb. 22, 2023, to fix a date.

Read more: Lawsuit claims B.C. hospital accepted doctored personal cheque as ID when hiring ‘fake nurse’

In the civil suit, lawyers on behalf of Miranda Massie say the claim arises from fraud committed by Cleroux, however, the lawsuit is targeting the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) for hiring the nurse, failing to identify the fraud, vicarious liability for Cleroux’s alleged battery and liability for intentional privacy breaches committed by Cleroux.

According to the court filings, PHSA immediately investigated Cleroux’s work as a nurse at the hospital following her termination.

Story continues below advertisement

The PHSA sent a letter to 899 individuals for whom Cleroux had recorded on a hospital chart that she provided care. A second letter went to 258 people whose operating room packet was reviewed by Cleroux but did not otherwise receive care from the fraudulent nurse.

In the response, PHSA is now confirming both the name and licence of every nurse it hires.

In a previous court filing against PHSA, the document said Cleroux allegedly used a doctored personal cheque as ID to get hired.

“Instead of receiving official government identification documents to confirm Cleroux was Melanie Smith, the Defendant accepted a photocopy of a personal cheque from Cleroux where she had whited out her name at the top of the cheque and hand wrote the name, Melanie Smith, as confirmation of Cleroux’s identity as Melanie Smith,” the document alleges.

The document further claims that the employer failed to properly vet references included with Cleroux’s application, which allegedly only contained phone numbers and email addresses, but no professional or business information.

Read more: Fake nurse worked for months at B.C. hospital despite several complaints: court filing

In the Jan. 27 PHSA response, the health authority claims the larger class action lawsuit should be denied — arguing the hundreds of different patients treated by Cleroux will vary too much in specifics to be handled under a single trial.

Story continues below advertisement

“PHSA has not in any way tried and is not trying now to evade or avoid responsibility,” PHSA said in the court document.

“The issue here is simply to decide the appropriate way to deal with claims that arise from Cleroux’s fraud.”

A defence lawyer, Scott Stanley, representing some of the plaintiffs in the proposed class action lawsuit declined an interview but did offer a statement.

“PHSA filed materials indicating it wants to take responsibility for this matter. However, it has filed a response where it denies liability; refused to admit any facts; and is strenuously resisting attempts to certify this matter as a class action. Those two positions are seemingly inconsistent,” Stanley said.

Click to play video: '‘Fake’ B.C. nurse used fraudulent cheque as ID, court documents allege'
‘Fake’ B.C. nurse used fraudulent cheque as ID, court documents allege

— with files from Global BC’s Simon Little and Amy Judd


Sponsored content