The parents of a Standard Five student in Gasparillo, who was vaccinated by public health workers against their wishes, have threatened to sue the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA).
In a pre-action protocol letter sent to SWRHA chief executive Brian Armour, last Thursday, lawyers representing the parents, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the 11-year-old child, claimed that the incident amounted to assault and battery.
“It is trite law that the administering of vaccines or any other medical treatment against the express wishes of the patient, or in the case of a minor their legal parent or guardian, is negligent,” attorney Jason Jones stated in the letter.
According to Jones, on October 8, the parents submitted a form in which they withheld consent for the administering of vaccines and medical services for their daughter.
The following day, the staff at the Gasparillo Health Centre visited the school to do vaccinations for human papillomavirus (HPV) and mistakenly included the child.
The parents only found out after the child informed them later that evening and presented her immunization record.
Jones claimed that the principal of the school admitted that the consent forms were handed over to the medical staff but no teachers or school administrators were present during the vaccination exercise.
“In any event, it was incumbent on the medical staff administering the vaccine to have confirmed consent before administering the vaccine, which was not done,” Jones said.
In the letter, Jones claimed that the SWRHA staff were negligent in performing their duties.
“It goes without saying that a minor child ought to be able to have trust and confidence that their school, and any agents of the state who enter into their school, will be acting in their best interest. The parents ought to be able to have the same confidence,” Jones said.
Jones gave the SWRHA until October 31 to respond to the letter before he files the lawsuit against it. The SWRHA had not replied, up to late yesterday.
The parents are also being represented by Matthew Gayle.