The widow of a Saskatchewan health-care worker is alleging that negligence led to her husband’s death.
Merin George is suing the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), along with Dr. Frederik Engelbrecht and Jill McIntosh, the doctor and nurse who treated George’s late husband, 34-year-old Tom Thomas.
Thomas died of a heart attack at the Battlefords Union Hospital on Feb. 15, 2021.
A statement of claim says Thomas tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 5, 2021, and was quarantined at home when he had “an uneventful illness.”
On Feb. 15, hours before his quarantine ended, Thomas drove himself to the hospital presenting with complaints of chest pain, nausea and numbness in his left fingers.
McIntosh assessed Thomas as a non-cardiac case, the statement of claim says.
It goes on to say that Thomas reported that his chest felt tight but that McIntosh did not obtain Thomas’s medical history or initiate any cardiac patient protocols.
Thomas was left in a negative pressure room with the door closed, where he could not be seen or heard, the statement says.
Engelbrecht did not see him for about half-an-hour, according to the statement. Then Engelbrecht found Thomas unresponsive and without a pulse.
The statement says Engelbrecht noted Thomas had “flatlined” and that he did not attempt to resuscitate him.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Thomas was a nurse in Kerala, India, who moved to Canada in 2016 and worked as a continuing care assistant at the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford. His daughter was 18 months old when he died.
He was the first known case of a health-care worker who died with COVID in Saskatchewan. Premier Scott Moe dubbed him “a hero on the front lines of delivering health care in the province.”
George alleges McIntosh and Engelbrecht “breached their obligation to exercise all reasonable care and skill in the diagnosis, treatment and care” of her husband.
George is seeking damages for funeral expenses, medical costs, loss of dependency on income, grief counselling costs and other expenses related to Thomas’s death. A financial amount has not been outlined.
A statement of defence has not been filed as of Monday afternoon.
The SHA declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality and the case being before the court.