Ottawa man suing two doctors for failing to 'diagnose and treat' Lyme disease
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2018 5:32PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:40PM EST
An Ottawa man is suing for half a million dollars claiming his Lyme disease wasn’t properly diagnosed or treated. Two local doctors are at the heart of the case; the first of its kind in Canada.
Four weeks have been set aside to hear this case beginning November 26. Observers say could be the first of many lawsuits as Lyme disease cases start to climb.
55-year-old Frank Papineau has been a familiar face on television as host of “The Weekend Fisherman.” Papineau clearly loved the outdoors and spent many years enjoying it. But that changed when, according to his lawsuit, Papineau says he was bitten by a tick. That was April of 2010 and life changed, according to him, from that moment on.
Papineau's court document, filed 5 years ago, claims a misdiagnosis and mismanagement of that tick bite. He says he visited the Kemptville District Hospital 4 days after he was bitten. He was seen by emergency physician Dr. Johnny Brisebois and was prescribed a ten day course of antibiotics.
According to the statement of claim, following that visit, Papineau starts getting physical symptoms: including heart problems, psychological problems, urological issues and fatigue.
Over the course of the next two years, the statement of claim says, Papineau visited his family doctor, Dr. Pablo Romero-Sierra, at the Main Street Family Medical Centre in Stittsville. In his statement of defense, Dr. Romero-Sierra says he ordered a Lyme test for Papineau in 2012 and that it came back negative.
This same medical clinic at the centre of an ongoing investigation by Ottawa Public Health about the possibility of improperlycleanedmedical equipment. 4600 patients have been urged to be tested for possible infection.
Papineau is suing both doctors, saying they failed to “properly investigate, diagnose and treat" him,” and that this has had a lasting impact on his health.
The defendants declined our request for an on camera interview. In their statement of defense, they deny any allegation of negligence and say the medical treatment provided "was carried out in a careful, appropriate and diligent manner."
The lawsuit has surprised those in the Lyme community but they expect it will be the first of many.
“This is the first action I’m aware of, of this nature,” said Jim Wilson, with CanLyme Disease Foundation.
“We applaud him and we are cheering him on all across the country,” added Lesley Fleming, with VOCAL, or Voices of Canadians with Lyme Disease.
CTV Ottawa reached out to both lawyers and both doctors involved in the lawsuit. No one was willing to talk to us on camera. Papineau's lawyer has asked for four weeks of court time to present his case and will call on some of the country's leading Lyme experts.