Nurses respond to court ruling that dismisses SARS lawsuits

    TORONTO, May 8 /CNW/ - The professional association that represents
nursing in Ontario has responded to a court ruling that dismissed claims made
by nurses and families harmed by SARS by emphasizing the critical importance
of ensuring that nurses and all those who deliver public services are
protected to the fullest extent possible.
    The ruling, handed down Thursday, by the Ontario Court of Appeal,
effectively dismissed a series of class action lawsuits, including one brought
by registered nurses following the 2003 SARS outbreak. Two nurses -- Techla
Lin and Nelia Laroza -- and a physician, Nestor Yanga, died of the infectious
disease. Dozens of other health-care workers became ill while caring for
patients during the outbreak.
    "Nurses and members of the public want and need to be assured that they,
other health professionals and other emergency personnel like firefighters
will be there when they are needed. It is in everyone's interest to know that
the government is taking every step possible to avoid harm to nurses and
others who risk their lives and health every day in order to help people,"
says Wendy Fucile, President of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
    RNAO's executive director, Doris Grinspun adds that "nurses need to know
that the province is acting to protect them while they are accountable to
serve the public," adding that "when nurses are assured of this, then they can
focus on delivering quality, patient care." Grinspun also applauded the
efforts of many, including government and nurses from across the province,
since SARS, which have resulted in Ontario being much better positioned to
deal with infectious disease outbreaks. "The preparedness, transparency and
communication we see in relation to the swine flu represents a significant
step forward for the health-care system and those who are served by it,"
Grinspun adds.

    The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario.
Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in
nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care
system, and influence decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For further information:

For further information: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO,
(647) 406-5605 (cellular), (416) 408-5605 (office)

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