Judge certifies lawsuit on behalf of clinic patients

by Joe Rosengarten04 Jun 2018

Former patients of a Toronto physician who received pain injections at the Rothbart Centre for Pain Care Ltd. have had their class action lawsuit against the clinic certified by Mr. Justice Edward M. Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The members of the lawsuit received pain injections performed at the clinic by Stephen James over a two-year period starting on January 1, 2010.

The lawsuit alleges that Dr. James performed the injections without adequate infection control, which resulted in certain patients becoming infected with Staph aureus. It is alleged that a number of patients developed bacterial meningitis, abscesses, skin and/or blood infections after receiving an injection into their back.

As well as claiming damages for injuries suffered, the lawsuit is also making a claim for punitive damages. The lawsuit names Dr. James, the pain clinic, clinic director Peter Rothbart and a number of nurses who worked at the clinic.

The initial investigation into Dr. James began in December 2012 and was undertaken by Toronto Public Health. That investigation discovered that Dr. James was colonized with Staph aureus, which, it is alleged, was spread to patients as a result of breaches in infection control and prevention.

The class action will work to determine whether or not any of the defendants were in fact negligent in their control practices.

The representative plaintiff for the class, Anne Levac, developed a bacterial infection in her spine within days of receiving an injection at the Rothbart Centre for Pain Care. The 68-year old resident of Fenelon Falls was rushed to hospital by ambulance, falling in and out of consciousness and suffering excruciating pain.

After spending 10 weeks in hospital and alleging that she was left permanently disabled, Levac is pleased that the action is now certified. "It has been five-and-a-half years since I was infected,” she said. “I am grateful that the case has finally been given the green light to proceed to court."


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