It took less than five minutes last month for the intravenous fluid dripping into Jayde Scott to turn the routine birth of her twin daughters into a traumatizing emergency.
Ms. Scott was named as the lead plaintiff on Thursday in an application for a class-action suit filed in the Court of the Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick on behalf of numerous mothers who underwent emergency cesarean sections at The Moncton Hospital between 2005 and 2019.
Those are the years in which labour and delivery nurse Nicole Ruest was employed at the hospital, the lawsuit alleges. The hospital is run by Horizon Health Network. Both Ms. Ruest and Horizon are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Horizon fired Ms. Ruest about two weeks ago after an internal investigation conducted at the hospital uncovered the nurse administering oxytocin – which induces contractions – to patients without doctors’ permission.
Ms. Scott confirmed at a news conference in Moncton on Thursday that doctors disclosed Ms. Ruest’s identity to her – as well as the fact that she gave unauthorized oxytocin to Ms. Scott – on the day after her twins, Ava and Avery, were delivered by emergency C-section.
Legal documents recount Ms. Scott’s experience, which began with what was supposed to be a low-risk induction on the morning of March 28. Already a mother of one, she was 38 weeks and three days pregnant. After an obstetrician broke Ms. Scott’s waters, she was connected to an intravenous, “which was supposed to be saline,” according to the class-action application.
“Under five minutes later, Jayde began to experience very strong contractions that would not stop,” the documents read. “Almost immediately, the fetal heart monitor showed a dangerous drop in the fetal heart rates. Jayde was also experiencing adverse effects.”
She was given a general anesthesia and her twins were born shortly thereafter.
At the news conference, Ms. Scott broke down in tears and called the experience “traumatizing.”
One of the lawyers representing Ms. Scott, John McKiggan, said he has been contacted by “dozens” of women who underwent emergency C-sections at The Moncton Hospital and are trying to figure out whether Ms. Ruest had a role in their deliveries.
The class-action suit accuses Horizon Health of failing the mothers on numerous fronts, including not notifying patients who came in contact with Ms. Ruest.
A spokesperson for Horizon Health said the hospital would not provide comment. The reason cited was an ongoing RCMP investigation.
Corporal Jullie Rogers-Marsh, a spokesperson for the RCMP in New Brunswick, said that she was not able to confirm whether Ms. Ruest is the nurse being investigated by the force. While a “complex” police probe is continuing, no charges have been laid.
The Globe and Mail was unable to reach Ms. Ruest for comment on Thursday.
The allegations against Ms. Ruest contained in the class-action application include that she administered oxytocin, which requires careful monitoring, “when she knew it would be dangerous.”
The documents also allege the hospital “did not have any policy or guidelines with respect to the inventory, tracking and use of oxytocin.”
The plaintiffs, the documents say, are seeking an apology from the hospital among other damages and compensation.
“For years, Ruest administered Oxytocin to laboring mothers without their knowledge or consent,” the documents allege.
It is not yet known how many mothers were affected.