Innisfil family awarded $5.2M in lawsuit against RVH
An Innisfil family has been awarded $5.2 million in a lawsuit against Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.
The last decade has been an emotional rollercoaster for Jaye and Robert Butler, but finally vindication.
In 2007, Butler gave birth to twins at RVH in Barrie. Their son Luke came first, but there were complications with daughter Sarah.
“They were going to break the membrane, so that the baby's head would stay engaged with the cervix so she didn't have to go through labour again,” says Robert Butler.
That decision was made by two nurses, but it is a procedure that was outside the scope of nursing practises in Ontario. Moments after the decision was made, the doctor arrived.
“He did an internal exam on Jaye and yelled emergency C-section,” says Robert.
Baby Sarah started having seizures. She was also unable to breath on her own for several minutes. The hospital's records indicated the rupture was spontaneous, while in fact, it had been carried out by a nurse. The Innisfil parents wanted answers.
“They created the events that lead to the fetal distress. Without taking them to court, we never would have found out the answers.”
The Butler's lawyer says the case and the decision of Justice J.R. McCarthy is an important one for all Canadians.
“It wasn't until we went to court that they finally admitted in open court that they were accepting responsibility,” says lawyer Hilik Elmaleh. “This is an example of a case where it was with the parents pressing, Mr. and Mrs. Butler pressing, to get that information from the hospital we would never have known that the nurses ruptured the membrane.”
During the trial, the court heard that the birthing complication resulted in Sarah developing cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments and behavioural problems.
However, the defence argued that the procedure executed by the nurses didn’t establish or prove that it resulted in Sarah’s medical issues.
In the end, the judge ruled that RVH pay the Butlers $5.2 million for things like future loss of income, extraordinary care, speech therapy and general damages.
The hospital says it expects strict adherence to the practice, protocols and conduct that have been established by regulatory bodies overseeing medical professionals.
"If an adverse incident does occur, the health centre undertakes a comprehensive quality review during which the hospital analyzes the incident and action plans are developed to ensure we learn from these experiences and reduce the risk of adverse events in the future. Action plans may include staff training, changes to processes and disciplinary measures," an RVH spokesperson said in a statement.
The Butler’s don’t want this to happen to any other parents ever again.
“There are a lot of births that occur in the hospitals in Ontario. There are problems at a lot of medical procedures, but if a family out there does have something go wrong, they need to know.”
The hospital has until June 4 to appeal.