Ottawa

Ottawa man alleges doctors failed to diagnose Lyme disease

An Ottawa man who says he's living with the pain and other debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease is suing two doctors who he claims failed to diagnose or treat his illness.

Frank Papineau seeking $350K in damages for 'negligence and malpractice'

Frank Papineau claims he was a healthy, successful businessman who spent a lot of time outdoors before being bitten be a tick in April 2010. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

An Ottawa man who says he's living with the pain and other debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease is suing two doctors who he claims failed to diagnose or treat his illness.

Frank Papineau, 55, is seeking general damages of $350,000 and additional compensation for loss of income and future cost of care. 

The case is scheduled to be heard in an Ottawa courtroom beginning Nov. 26.  

The doctors he's accusing of "negligence and malpractice" are Johnny Brisebois, an emergency department physician at the Kemptville District Hospital, and Pablo Romero-Sierra, the plaintiff's family doctor, who works at the Main Street Family Medical Centre in Stittsville.  

In the statement of claim filed in August 2013, Papineau said he was a healthy, successful businessman who spent a lot of time outdoors. His quality of life changed after he was bitten by a tick in April 2010, he said.

Doctor prescribed antibiotics

According to the statement of claim, shortly after Papineau was bitten he went to the Kemptville District Hospital where Brisebois prescribed him a 10-day course of antibiotics. Papineau's claims his health declined following the treatment and he experienced heart, urological and psychological problems.

Papineau claims that over the next two years he repeatedly asked his family doctor whether there was a possibility that he had contracted Lyme disease.  

In May 2012, Romero-Sierra​ told Papineau he'd tested negative for Lyme disease. 

Tested in U.S.

In their joint statement of defence, Brisebois and Romero-Sierra claim Papineau underwent another test for Lyme disease two months later at a clinic in the United States. That test, the doctors said, is approved neither in Canada, nor by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nor by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Both doctors deny the allegations of negligence, adding the treatment they provided Papineau "was carried out in a careful, appropriate and diligent manner in accordance with the accepted and approved standards of medical care." 

Brisebois said he saw no evidence that a tick had burrowed into Papineau's arm when he arrived at the hospital 36 hours after the alleged bite.

Brisebois said he prescribed antibiotics for a swollen rash which was more consistent with cellulitis, a painful bacterial skin infection.     

'Justice will be done'

Romero-Sierra said he referred Papineau to specialists and sent his patient for imaging and diagnostic tests in a timely manner.  

Gowling WLG, the law firm representing both doctors, told CBC in an email that it's prohibited from speaking about the details of the case outside court under the provisions of the Personal Health Information Protection Act. 

"We are confident justice will be done," the firm wrote.

Lawyers for the plaintiff would not agree to an interview with CBC.