Doctors file defence in toddler case
Two pediatricians and two emergency department doctors at Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital are denying allegations of inadequate medical treatment of now two-year-old Emma Roche.
Emma's parents, Melissa Driscoll and Danny Roche, are suing the doctors. They claim the doctors were "generally negligent" in their treatment of their daughter in early 2011 and that as a result she has been left severely brain damaged.
Last month the parents held an emotional press conference with family, friends, along with their young daughter. Their lawyer laid out plans to sue four doctors - Kate Ellis-Ghiz, Pauline Champion, and pediatricians Peter Noonan and Mitch Zelman – as well as the province of P.E.I.
In their statements of defence, filed in court Friday, the doctors reject the parents' claims. All four doctors say they have no knowledge of tests that confirm severe brain injury.
In her statement of defence Ellis-Ghiz, the first to see the baby on the evening of Jan. 30, said Emma appeared well but displayed a mild cough. Emma was given a chest X-ray and other tests, and released.
"Dr. Ellis-Ghiz advised both that if they were not comfortable with the discharge, Emma could be admitted," reads her statement of defence.
Ellis-Ghiz said she provided appropriate advice and treatment.
The other three doctors also base their defence on similar claims, saying the parents were fully informed of the treatments, procedures, and the risks.
In Champion's statement of defence, she said she was the second emergency doctor to see Emma. The statement says a presumptive diagnosis for Emma was a viral illness, and that she was given the appropriate treatment and discharged. Champion said she told the mother, Melissa Driscoll, and the grandmother to return to emergency if they were at all worried. In a matter of hours they were back, where pediatrician Dr. Peter Noonan said he suspected Emma had contracted influenza.
In his statement, he said Emma and her family were provided appropriate medical advice and treatment. He said when he discharged Emma her mother and grandmother were again given clear instructions to bring her back to the hospital if they were concerned.
"Noonan requested that Emma's mother contact the paediatric clinic in the morning to provide an update but again stressed that if Emma were to become more unwell overnight, she should return immediately to the Hospital," reads his statement of claim.
They returned a few hours later, as did Noonan. He admitted her to the pediatric unit for observation. The statement of defence says her treatment was having a good result.
According to his statement of defence, Dr. Mitch Zelman was the next on call pediatrician in the morning. He responded to a code blue because Emma was not breathing on her own.
In his defence, Zelman said Emma and her family were provided appropriate medical advice and treatment by him before the baby was airlifted to the IWK hospital in Halifax.
In its defence, the P.E.I. government says any injuries to Emma were caused by the negligence of her parents.
No trial date has been set.