Lawsuit claims video shows Bishop’s Falls guards assaulting unconscious inmate in dentist’s chair | Canada | News

An inmate at a central Newfoundland prison is filing multiple lawsuits, including against corrections officers and a Gander oral surgeon, following an incident that reportedly happened at the surgeon’s office.

The Telegram has learned the man — an inmate at Bishops Falls Corrections Centre whose name is not being made public yet — alleges he was medically sedated at the oral surgeon’s office last month, when a corrections officer was video-recorded performing a dental procedure on him.

The video is believed to have been taken by another corrections officer, while two dental assistants were in the room at one point of the procedure.

The two corrections officers, who took the inmate to the oral surgeon’s office for an undisclosed procedure, were recently escorted out of the Bishop’s Falls facility by RCMP officers, a source told The Telegram earlier this week.

On Tuesday, both the RCMP and the Justice Department turned down requests for comment.

“My first reaction was shock and disbelief. With all due respect to my client. I thought it was incomprehensible and thought maybe he misapprehended what had happened.”

However, when contacted by The Telegram Wednesday, St. John’s lawyer Bob Buckingham confirmed he has been retained to represent the inmate and will file the lawsuit “fairly quickly” on his behalf.

“I haven’t heard of this happening in recent times in Newfoundland,” Buckingham said.

He said the lawsuits will claim battery, assault and breach of trust against the corrections officers; professional negligence and a breach of contract against the oral surgeon and the oral surgeon’s office; breach of trust by the corrections services and the provincial government, as well as vicarious liability against the provincial government, as it is alleged to have happened while corrections officers were on duty.

Buckingham said his client was unconscious at the time of the alleged incident, having been medically sedated, and had no knowledge of what happened when he left the dentist’s office a short time later. He said he learned about it and the video later from corrections administration.

“He understands one of the corrections officers took a video of this, which made the rounds within corrections services,” said Buckingham, adding that both the corrections administration and the RCMP are in possession of the video.

Buckingham said he was appalled to hear what the inmate says happened to him.

“My first reaction was shock and disbelief,” he said. “With all due respect to my client, I thought it was incomprehensible and thought maybe he misapprehended what had happened.

“It’s a very difficult set of circumstances to believe, given a professional involving a dentist and corrections officers who were there for his protection, and the inmate being under medically induced sedation.

“But types of egregious breaches of trust do happen in our province,” added Buckingham, who also represents the family of Jonathan Henoche, an inmate who was killed in segregation at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in November 2019, in lawsuits against the corrections officers, the prison and the provincial government.

He said

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The Impacts of Unconscious Bias in Healthcare

 



In mid-March, Karla Monterroso flew home to Alameda, California, after a hiking trip in Utah’s Zion National Park. Four days later, she began to develop a bad, dry cough. Her lungs felt sticky.

The fevers that persisted for the next 9 weeks grew so high — 100.4, 101.2, 101.7, 102.3 — that, on the worst night, she was in the shower on all fours, ice-cold water running down her back, willing her temperature to go down.

“That night I had written down in a journal, letters to everyone I’m close to, the things I wanted them to know in case I died,” she remembered.

Then, in the second month, came a new batch of symptoms: headaches and shooting pains in her legs and abdomen that made her worry she could be at risk for the blood clots and strokes that other COVID-19 patients in their 30s had reported.

Still, she wasn’t sure if she should go to the hospital.

“As women of color, you get questioned a lot about your emotions and the truth of your physical state. You get called an exaggerator a lot throughout the course of your life,” said Monterroso, who is Latina. “So there was this weird, ‘I don’t want to go and use resources for nothing’ feeling.”

It took four friends to convince her she needed to call 911.

But what happened in the emergency room at Alameda Hospital only confirmed her worst fears.

At nearly every turn during her emergency room visit, Monterroso said, providers dismissed her symptoms and concerns. Her low blood pressure? That’s a false reading. Her cycling oxygen levels? The machine’s wrong. The shooting pains in her leg? Probably just a cyst.

“The doctor came in and said, ‘I don’t think that much is happening here. I think we can send you home,'” Monterroso recalled.

Her experiences, she reasons, are part of why people of color are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. It is not merely because they’re more likely to have front-line jobs that expose them to it and the underlying conditions that make COVID-19 worse.

“That is certainly part of it, but the other part is the lack of value people see in our lives,” Monterroso wrote in a Twitter thread detailing her experience.


Research shows how doctors’ unconscious bias affects the care people receive, with Latino and Black patients being less likely to receive pain medications or get referred for advanced care than white patients with the same complaints or symptoms, and more likely to die in childbirth from preventable complications.

In the hospital that day in May, Monterroso was feeling woozy and having trouble communicating, so she had a friend and her friend’s cousin, a cardiac nurse, on the phone to help. They started asking questions: What about Karla’s

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Unconscious Bias Crops Up In Health Care, Even During A Pandemic : Shots

Karla Monterroso says after going to Alameda Hospital in May with a very accelerated heart rate, very low blood pressure and cycling oxygen levels, her entire experience was one of being punished for being ‘insubordinate.’

Kenneth Eke/Code2040


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Kenneth Eke/Code2040

Karla Monterroso says after going to Alameda Hospital in May with a very accelerated heart rate, very low blood pressure and cycling oxygen levels, her entire experience was one of being punished for being ‘insubordinate.’

Kenneth Eke/Code2040

In mid-March, Karla Monterroso flew home to Alameda, Calif. after a hiking trip in Utah’s Zion National Park. Four days later she began to develop a bad, dry cough. Her lungs felt sticky.

The fevers that persisted for the next nine weeks grew so high — 100.4, 101.2, 101.7, 102.3 — that on the worst night, she was in the shower on all fours, ice cold water running down her back, willing her temperature to go down.

“That night I had written down in a journal, letters to everyone I’m close to, the things I wanted them to know in case I died,” she remembers.

Then came a new batch of symptoms in the second month, headaches and shooting pains in her legs and abdomen that made her worry she could be at risk for the blood clots and strokes that other COVID-19 patients in their thirties were starting to report.

But still, she wasn’t sure if she should go to the hospital.

“As women of color, you get questioned a lot about your emotions and the truth of your physical state. You get called an exaggerator a lot throughout the course of your life,” says Monterroso, who is Latina. “So there was this weird, ‘I don’t want to go and use resources for nothing’ feeling.”

It took four friends to convince her that she needed to call 911.

But what happened in the emergency room at Alameda Hospital only confirmed her worst fears.

At nearly every turn during her emergency room visit, providers dismissed her symptoms and concerns, Monterroso says. Her low blood pressure? That’s a false reading. Her cycling oxygen levels? The machine’s wrong. The shooting pains in her leg? Probably just a cyst.

“The doctor came in and said, ‘I don’t think that much is happening here. I think we can send you home,'” Monterroso recalls.

Her experiences in the medical system, she reasons, are part of why people of color are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. She says it is not just because they’re more likely to have front-line jobs that expose them to the virus, and the underlying health conditions that can lead to a more serious COVID-19 infection.

“That is certainly part of it, but the other part is the lack of value people see in our lives,” Monterroso wrote in a Twitter thread detailing her experience.

Read more