St. John's lawfirm files class action lawsuit in Miramichi

Published on November 4, 2013
Ches Crosbie. — File photo

St. John's lawfirm Ches Crosbie Barristers is pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Miramichi Regional Hospital on behalf of colposcopy clinic patients between May 1999 and May 24, 2013.

The lawsuit claims the clinic used disinfected but unsterilized forceps for 14 years, exposing female patients to a remote risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Crosbie's firm is now waiting for a court ruling on certification of the class to proceed with the action.

Crosbie is joining forces with Ray Wagner of Wagners personal injury law firm in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the class action.

The plaintiffs argue that the hospital was negligent in its failure to sterilize forceps when the hospital knew or ought to have known to sterilize. They also claim the hospital provided improper or no training, inadequate supervision of employees in sterilization procedures or didn't hire competent staff. They further allege the hospital didn't conduct timely periodic reviews or audits of sterilization procedures and had no written procedure in place for sterilization of forceps. If there was a policy, the plaintiffs argue, the hospital didn't ensure that it was read and understood by staff.

The plaintiffs also say the defendant intentionally breached confidentiality of medical information by sending registered letters which identified patients as exposed to potential infection.

“There is systematic dysfunction at Miramichi Hospital for this to go on for 14 years,” Crosbie said in a news release. “It’s outrageous and upsetting to patients. Compensation for class members will help prevent this type of large-scale error from happening again.”

 Crosbie said the defendant waited nearly three months after hospital administration discovered the error before contacting class members to say they may have been treated with unsterilized forceps. The forceps were used to take gynecological biopsy samples from women at the clinic.  

According to Crosbie, at least 2,497 patients were treated with unsterilized forceps. The defendant revealed its failure to sterilize forceps for 14 years in August, 2013.

More information on this class action lawsuit can be found online at