A law firm has launched a class action lawsuit against a doctor who Ottawa Public Health accused of lax infection prevention practices, which then led to a hepatitis and HIV scare involving more than 6,800 people.
Merchant Law Group LLP is representing at least two former patients of Dr. Christiane Farazli, Jean-François Farjon and Rebecca Soroka, who are suing for more than $20 million. The two plaintiffs are representative of the more than 6,800 people who received letters.
In the statement of claim filed to Ontario Superior Court, the pair said they "suffered injury and damages as a result of the defendants’ acts, omissions, wrongdoings, and breaches of legal duties and obligation."
The claim also goes on to accuse Farazli of failing "to consistently follow standard and statutory practices and procedures used to clean endoscopes."
The specific damages suffered by the patients are described as "worry, anxiety, and possible bodily injuries."
None of these allegations have been proven in court.
Letters sent to patients treated over 9 years
In mid-October, Ottawa Public Health sent letters out to patients who visited Farazli between April 2002 and June 2011 advising them to get checked for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa's chief medical officer, said some infection prevention and cleaning protocols were "not always followed" at Farazli's clinic located at 1081 Carling Ave., Suite 606.
Just last Friday, Levy also expressed the city and public health are seeking reimbursement of the $750,000 it cost to send out the letters and staff an information line. The city can't sue Farazli, though, and are looking to the province for the money.
Farazli is also currently in the midst of suing two nurses, a doctor and the Ottawa hospital for more than $3 million for alleged negligence relating to the care of the doctor's back injury.