FILE – A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021.Canadian Press photo

FILE – A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021.Canadian Press photo

B.C. pharmacist faces class-action suit for allegedly reusing COVID vaccine syringes

Plaintiff alleges mental injuries and seeks damages

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a New Westminster pharmacy where syringes were allegedly reused when giving out COVID-19 vaccines.

The lawsuit, filed in B.C. Supreme Court Monday (Nov. 1), stems from an alleged incident where pharmacy manager Bhanu Prasad Seelaboyina reused syringes when administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients from Aug. 24–26 of this year.

Court documents state that patients were informed of this around Sept. 22 and advised that they would need to be tested three times over the next three months to rule out the risk of blood-borne illness.

Seelaboyina, Kent Pharmacy Ltd, and the pharmacy’s owner, Fabina Kara, are named in the lawsuit.

The plaintiff, an education assistant who lives in New Westminster, was told she was at risk of contracting illnesses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV as a result of the reused syringes. She was told she would need to be tested for these illnesses at three weeks, six weeks and three months after exposure.

The plaintiff said that as a result of the syringe incident, she has suffered mental injuries and that “further and other injuries” could come emerge following further testing and examinations.

The civil claim alleges that the defendants owed a duty of care to “perform pharmaceutical duties in a competent manner that did not cause harm, or potentially cause harm,” which the plaintiff claimed the defendants did not fulfill.

“Further, the plaintiff and proposed class members may in fact develop illnesses that could seriously harm them and impair their functioning, and possibly cause death.”

The claim states that the pharmacy manager should have known that re-using syringes could expose the patients to serious illnesses, leading to mental trauma and possible physical impairments or death if the diseases were transmitted. The pharmacy and its owner, the claim noted, are liable because they failed to adequately train their staff and permitted “incompetent or inadequately trained pharmacists” to provide services and to make proper equipment available. Court documents state that the owner is liable for her staff’s “negligent acts and omissions.”

In the notice of civil claim, the plaintiff is seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class action, with her as the representative. She is also seeking general damages, special damages, damages for lost income, loss of opportunity, damages for loss of past and future earning capacity, cost of future care, aggravated damages, punitive damages, and various associated costs.

None of these allegations have been proven in court and none of the defendants have filed a response with the court.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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