Class Action Commenced Against Toronto General Hospital in Relation to Bacterial Outbreak and Deaths

    TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - A class action claim was issued with the Ontario
Superior Court of Justice on December 24, 2008, on behalf of patients who were
infected by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa ("Pseudomonas") outbreak while at
Toronto General Hospital between December 1, 2004 and March 31, 2006 (the
"Pseudomonas Outbreak"). Pseudomonas is described as multidrug-resistant
bacteria which causes illness and death in immunocompromised patients. Of 36
patients infected during the Pseudomonas Outbreak, 17 died.
    The claim was issued following the recent release of a study conducted by
Dr. Susy Hota et al. entitled "Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas
aeruginosa Colonization and Infection Secondary to Imperfect Intensive Care
Unit Room Design", published in the January 2009 edition of the Journal of
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (the "Hota Study"), which
identifies the source of the Pseudomonas Outbreak. The claim seeks
compensation for patients of Toronto General Hospital infected with
Pseudomonas, as well as their families. The defendants named in the lawsuit
are Toronto General Hospital and University Health Network.
    The claim alleges that Toronto General Hospital and University Health
Network were negligent in their testing methods relating to infection control
protocols. In particular, the defendants failed to recognize that sinks and
sink drains were the source of Pseudomonas in the Medical/Surgery Intensive
Care Unit.
    "While the release of the Hota Study exposing the cause of the
Pseudomonas Outbreak at Toronto General Hospital is certainly an important
first step for victims, it marks only the beginning of a longer process", said
Joel P. Rochon, a partner at Rochon Genova LLP. "This class action provides an
avenue for patients and their families to seek fair damages for this entirely
avoidable tragedy."
    The proposed representative plaintiff, Ronald Sherman, was admitted to
emergency at Toronto General Hospital in November 2005 with pneumonia. "I was
hospitalized for 4 months and nearly died from the Pseudomonas infection while
in intensive care," he said. "Toronto General Hospital should be held
accountable to the affected patients and their families who were unnecessarily
burdened with this terrible infection."
    The allegations raised in the claim have not yet been proven in court.

For further information:

For further information: Rochon Genova LLP, 121 Richmond St. W, Suite
900, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2K1, Telephone: (416) 363-1867, Website address:

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