The family of a Nova Scotia woman who died after a seven-hour wait at a Nova Scotia emergency room has launched a civil lawsuit against the province’s health authority.
Allison Holthoff, a 37-year-old mother of three, died on the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre emergency room on Recent Yr’s Eve. Her husband, Gunter, told reporters in January his wife had been waiting in excruciating pain on the Amherst hospital.
“She said, ‘I believe I’m dying. Don’t let me die here,’” he said.
Holthoff’s explanation for her death has not been released, and the health authority is conducting a high quality review investigation on the hospital’s emergency department.
Valent Legal filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Nova Scotia Health Authority with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on behalf of Holthoff’s family.
The lawsuit alleges the Nova Scotia Health Authority “was negligent in failing to satisfy the usual of care in operating the emergency room, monitoring the waiting patients, triaging the patients properly, and conducting appropriate testing in a timely manner.”
The lawsuit also names the attending emergency room physician as a defendant.
‘She deserved higher’
Lawyer Mike Dull said Holthoff received “substandard” care when she presented to the emergency room on Dec. 31.
“On this case, she couldn’t walk. She couldn’t even support her own weight sitting up in a wheelchair. She needed to lay down on the bottom, and he or she laid on that ground for hours and hours without being checked on, after which died shortly after,” he said.
“She deserved higher. Nova Scotians deserve higher.”
Dull said the lawsuit was filed with two goals: to make sure Holthoff’s loss was acknowledged, and that “decision-makers do higher in the longer term, that changes are made to be sure that no family has to undergo what they’re currently going through, and what they shall be going through for years to return.”
He said the “only avenue for relief” for Holthoff’s family is thru the civil justice system. The lawsuit doesn’t specify a dollar amount.
“It’s not about dollars and cents to the family, it’s about ensuring that what happened doesn’t occur again for one more family,” he said.
Not one of the allegations have been proven in court. The Nova Scotia Health Authority declined to comment on the legal motion.
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