STORY: "Mother sues Sick Kids and children’s aid over false hair test results," by reporter Jacques Gallant, published by the Toronto Star on August 23, 2016.
SUB-HEADING: Suit alleges that a positive test for cocaine reported by the hospital’s Motherisk lab led to the loss of her daughters.
PHOTO CAPTION: "Christine Rupert is suing the Hospital for Sick Children and Children's Services of Waterloo Region, among others, for what she says was the permanent loss of her daughters over a false result on hair tests at Sick Kids' Motherisk lab. "
GIST: "An Ontario mother who claims she lost some of her children due to false hair test results at the Hospital for Sick Children’s Motherisk laboratory is now suing the hospital and the children’s aid society that oversaw her case. Christine Rupert is joined in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit by her two sons and former partner. She alleges her two young daughters were made Crown wards without access for the purpose of adoption as a result of Motherisk test results that suggested she was abusing cocaine, a finding she has always denied. “As a direct result of the wrongful conduct of the defendants, the plaintiff Christine Rupert has suffered and continues to suffer the permanent loss of her children,” says the statement of claim, filed in Superior Court last week. All plaintiffs say they have been prevented by law from contacting the girls since 2009. In addition to Sick Kids and Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region, Rupert and her relatives are suing several named individuals who work or have worked at the Motherisk lab or at the children’s aid society (CAS), who according to court records have not yet been served with the statement of claim. None of the allegations has been proven in court. Rupert’s lawyer, Julie Kirkpatrick, declined to comment......... “CASs make decisions about the safety of a child based on the impact of parenting on a child, not solely for the purposes of assessing drug use,” said a statement from the agency. “CASs relied on a world-renowned hospital and trusted in the international reputation of the Motherisk Lab at SickKids to undertake the court-ordered testing of hair strands to guide decision-making for children who may have been in need of protection. “We are deeply concerned about the possible impact that flawed drug testing methods have had on vulnerable children and families.” These are the latest legal proceedings involving Motherisk. Toronto law firm Koskie Minsky also launched a potential class action lawsuit earlier this year. Motherisk’s drug and alcohol hair tests were deemed by an independent review last year to be “inadequate and unreliable.” That review was sparked by a Star investigation that found that prior to 2010, Motherisk was using a test that was not considered to be the “gold standard.” Motherisk results were entered into evidence in thousands of child protection cases across the country. The lab ceased its hair testing operations in 2015, and Sick Kids CEO Dr. Michael Apkon later apologized to any families who felt they may have been affected. The Motherisk Commission, established by the provincial government earlier this year, is currently reviewing cases where Motherisk results may have played a role. In Rupert’s case, Commissioner Judith Beaman concluded in April that “although it was not the only evidence supporting the decision, it is clear that the results of the Motherisk testing were a significant factor leading to the decision made in the case involving Ms. Rupert’s children.” Rupert is challenging that finding in a separate court proceeding. She wants the Divisional Court to quash that part of Beaman’s conclusion, arguing Motherisk was the only factor in her daughters being made Crown wards for the purpose of adoption. She’s joined by two other mothers in that case, who have decried what they see as a lack of transparency at the Motherisk Commission. In the recently filed lawsuit against the hospital and children’s aid society, Rupert asks that the court declare that a miscarriage of justice occurred in the child protection proceeding that led to her daughters being made Crown wards and that the rights of the plaintiffs were breached. She also wants declarations that Motherisk and the Waterloo Region CAS were negligent in her case. “At no time did the Motherisk lab adhere to the internationally accepted forensic standards,” says the statement of claim. “The (Hospital for Sick Children) did not provide adequate oversight to the Motherisk lab to ensure such standards were followed.” (The independent review completed last year found that Sick Kids had not provided “meaningful oversight” to the lab.)"
The entire story can be found at:
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
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