Son of dead nurse wants SARS victims acknowledged
The son of a nurse who died as a result of SARS says Ontario's justice system should acknowledge all victims of the deadly outbreak.
Kenneth Laroza, 22, testified at Ontario's highest court, trying to convince a judge that the province can be sued over its response to the SARS crisis.
Laroza contracted severe acute respiratory syndrome himself from his mother Nelia. She was a nurse who contracted the illness during a second outbreak in Toronto in 2003, after the province declared the health emergency had passed.
The court heard how his 52-year-old mother loved taking care of other people. Laroza said that a court action could ensure that better protection for other health-care professionals in future health crises.
"I want to make sure once something like this happens again, the people who are taking care of us are being taken care of," he said.
Lawyer Lisa Miron told reporters: "If you're saying there's no SARS, and there is SARS, and you're making nurses go in without masks to face a dangerous pathogen that can and did kill them, then that is bad faith."
Former nurse Rosabel Corpuz contracted SARS and her health has never really recovered. "We don't know that this patient had SARS ... and we were caring for them like we would anyone else," she said.
Five separate lawsuits have been launched by nurses, hospital patients, the families of victims who have died and others.
In the suit filed by 53 nurses, the plaintiffs accuse the government of failing to provide them with timely information about precautionary steps they could have taken to better protect themselves.
The nurses also allege that they were not properly consulted about decisions that were life-threatening.
Forty-four people died from SARS, all of whom lived in the Greater Toronto Area.
The government tried to have the lawsuits thrown out but the Superior Court rejected their motion.
The Supreme Court of Ontario is now handling the government's appeal of that ruling.
Government lawyers are arguing members of the public don't have the right to sue the government for not stopping a communicable disease.
The case is to continue on Thursday.
With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman