Identification v. Notification

Dear editor:

Our law firm is legal counsel to Melvin Fletcher Jr. and Melissa Fletcher, the surviving son and granddaughter of the late Hermina Fletcher. Hermina died while hospitalized at La Verendrye Hospital in 2015, after former nurse Lindsey Coyle tampered with her medication. We have been assisting the Fletchers in the legal proceedings following those events.

We write in respect of your January 24 article (“Minister responds to request for investigation at LVGH”). Your reporting misses a key point of our clients’ requests of both Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc. and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones.

While Riverside and Minister Jones suggest, in their carefully worded communications, that other potential victims were identified, they have both specifically not confirmed whether or not those victims or their families were notified. Identification is very different than notification, and if one did not follow the other, we maintain that both the hospital and the Minister have fallen short of their obligations.

Whether or not there was a fatal or even clinical impact on any other patient, interference with their personal health records and medical treatment is a grave attack on their bodily integrity and their statutory rights under Ontario’s health information privacy and protection legislation. Victims of this misconduct are entitled to be informed proactively.

The community deserves an answer to one basic question: Has Riverside informed the patients whose medication records were tampered with by Lindsey Coyle? (And if they were notified, what were they told?)

It is unclear why the Fort Frances Times won’t ask this question but instead chooses to run Riverside’s “nothing to see here” full page ads. It appears that, once again, keeping the public informed on important issues has taken a backseat to the interests of one of your advertisers.

Douglas W. Judson
Judson Howie LLP