Class-action lawsuit filed against Whitby nursing home

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Sunnycrest Nursing Home is facing a $ 30 million claim

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Bryan Passifiume Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby, Ontario, Canada December 9, 2020. Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby, Ontario, Canada December 9, 2020. Photo by Carlos Osorio /.Reuters

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The family of a woman who died in a Whitby nursing home in January is the representative plaintiff in a $ 30 million class action lawsuit.

The February lawsuit filed with the Ontario Supreme Court against the Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Dundas St. E. sought $ 20 million in damages and an additional $ 10 million fine – plus court costs.

Edelvena Smelova, 87, whose family are the representative plaintiffs in the lawsuit, died on January 7 of complications from COVID-19 and severe dehydration.

Smelova was born in Moscow in 1934 and survived the horrors of World War II before becoming a renowned music teacher and emigrating to Canada in 1996, where she continued her work as a music teacher.

“We are heartbroken to know that our mother and grandmother have spent their last two months alone without seeing each other or feeling our love,” said daughter Julia Ratnayake.

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Will Davidson LLP’s senior attorney Gary Will said more than half of nursing homes in Ontario suffered no deaths during the second wave of the pandemic, and most deaths occurred in just a handful of homes.

“The Sunnycrest Nursing Home’s gross negligence is reflected in the fact that a significant COVID-19 outbreak was approved on November 23, 2020,” Will said. “It is simply inexcusable that Sunnycrest was not better prepared to protect vulnerable residents more than 9 months after the pandemic.”

This outbreak, which lasted through January 1, 2021, resulted in 177 COVID-19 infections among residents and 78 employees, and 34 deaths.

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In November, a Sunnycrest provincial inspection report concluded that the home “has not demonstrated it will provide a safe environment for its residents in the course of its outbreak,” calling on the province to hire Lakeridge Health to provide direct hospital assistance a voluntary management agreement.

The inspection found that the nursing home was not examining people entering or leaving the facility, there was a lack of PPE for staff, and the facility was staffed with less than 50% of the regular staff, causing delays in care and medication for residents led.

Requests to Sunnycrest for comment and filing a statement of defense had not been returned at the time of going to press.
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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