A Quebec family is suing a hospital for more than a million dollars after a young mother suddenly died in their care more than three years ago.
Mathieu Lapointe said his wife Caroline Lalonde had complained about a pain in her right side on July 9, 2015. She was vomiting and fainting and Lapointe said he immediately took her to emergency at the Gatineau Hospital.
The 35-year-old mother of one spent the night in the hospital. She called Lapointe the following morning to tell him she still wasn’t feeling well.
“I said, ‘Don't worry about it. You're at the hospital. They will take care of you,’” Lapointe recalled to CTV Ottawa. “That was the last time I talked to her.”
Lalonde was rushed into surgery for an infection in her kidney that resulted in septic shock. She died after spending only 27 hours at the hospital, according to the lawsuit filed in court.
The family is suing four doctors who saw Lalonde during her stay at the hospital. The lawsuit alleges that they didn’t act quickly enough to diagnose and treat her before her death.
“The defendants are devastated by Ms. Lalonde's unexpected death and the circumstances surrounding it,” the lawsuit states in a translation from French.
Lapointe’s son Tristan, who Lalonde cared for since he was two years old, said he doesn’t understand why she didn’t survive.
“A lot of people had this problem and when they go to the hospital, they come home,” he said. “But not in this case… Why? That’s the question.”
Dr. Marie Pinault, the coroner in Lalonde’s case, noted in her report that the young mother had suffered an infection from a kidney stone a year-and-a-half earlier and was treated for septic shock at the Gatineau Hospital.
She also described the nursing care during Lalonde’s overnight stay in 2015 as “suboptimal” and the delay admitting her into surgery as “questionable.”
Lapointe said that he filed the lawsuit for $1,015,000 to help his children and to prevent similar tragedies from occurring again. He said the family is just trying to move on with their lives, as Lalonde would have wanted.
“I’m 400 per cent sure that she would tell me ‘Do your life. Do your life and take care of the kids,’” he said, his voice breaking.
The Centre Integre de Sante et des Services Sociaux de l’Outaouais, which oversees the Gatineau Hospital, did not respond to a request for comment.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr