Patient Recalls ‘So Much Pain’ During Fake Nurse Assisted Surgery at Vancouver Hospital – .

Patient Recalls ‘So Much Pain’ During Fake Nurse Assisted Surgery at Vancouver Hospital – .

Alexandra Tymkiw met Brigitte Cleroux during one of her most vulnerable moments. It was December 15, 2020, and Tymkiw was a patient at BC Women’s Hospital, about to undergo surgery to remove a polyp from her uterus.
Cleroux was introduced to her as a perioperative nurse who would administer pain relievers during the procedure, according to Tymkiw, a 40-year-old Burnaby resident who goes by the nickname Sasha.

Tymkiw said she was immediately struck by Cleroux’s behavior. She described it as loud, condescending and self-glorifying, which she found unusual for a medical professional.

“I got on the table and my legs were in stirrups and I was stripped from waist to toe with my legs wide open so they could operate on me. And I’m pretty nervous, ”Tymkiw recalls.

“I’m just like, ‘OK, these are professionals… don’t worry.’ “

But it turns out they weren’t all professionals.

Tymkiw received a letter from the hospital on Thursday, informing her that Cleroux had no nursing degree when she participated in this operation.

In fact, Cleroux, 49, was arrested and charged with fraud over $ 5,000 and identity theft with the intent to gain advantage. Vancouver Police say she used a real nurse’s name to find a job at the hospital, where she provided patient care from June 2020 to June 2021.

Tymkiw also learned that Cleroux faces similar charges in Ottawa, and has a long history of identity theft.

‘Right away there is tons of pain’

Tymkiw was deeply troubled by the news, but it also raised new questions about her frightening experience during what should have been a relatively routine procedure.

She said her surgery was performed under local anesthesia while Cleroux was administering pain relievers.

“Right away there is tons of pain. I have a line at this time and I’m supposed to be on pain relievers, but there is pain, ”Tymkiw said.

She tried to hide her discomfort, assuming the pain was normal, and tried to breathe through it.

“Nothing was helping, and I got to the point where I was pulling away from the surgeon. I remember my legs were shaking so I was in so much pain, ”Tymkiw said.

Brigitte Cleroux, 49, is accused of posing as a nurse by using forged credentials in Vancouver and Ottawa. (Ottawa Police Service)

She said Cleroux was asked to release more painkillers, but that didn’t help. Tymkiw describes it as “10 out of 10 in pain – and I had a kidney stone.”

Eventually, the surgeon had to stop the procedure, Tymkiw said.

CBC News has seen no evidence that Cleroux is responsible for the severe pain experienced by Tymkiw, and Cleroux has not been charged with any offense relating to the direct treatment of patients in British Columbia.

In Ottawa, however, she was charged with assault with a weapon and criminal negligence causing bodily harm for allegedly administering drugs and injections to patients in a fertility clinic without the necessary qualifications.

“Why didn’t you just finish nursing school?” “

Tymkiw said she had not heard from police about their investigation.

She is completing her training to become a registered massage therapist and said she was keenly aware of the little public debate about women’s health, especially when it comes to reproductive and gynecological issues.

Because of this stigma, Tymkiw said she spent most of the past year thinking her surgical experience was normal. It was only after her twin sister underwent the same procedure and did not suffer excruciating pain that Tymkiw realized that there was something unusual about what had happened to her.

This is what makes her so angry at Cleroux’s alleged fraud.

“To see this other woman in a vulnerable position, in great pain and with her legs spread – the fact that she had the audacity to push her way in there is so disturbing,” Tymkiw said.

Brigitte Cleroux appears in an older photo shared by the College of Nurses of Ontario. (College of Nurses of Ontario)

According to court documents, Cleroux completed two years of a four-year nursing program in Colorado, but was never certified as a nurse. She was first convicted of posing as a nurse in 2005 in Ontario and has a history of similar crimes in Alberta and Quebec.

This whole story leaves Tymkiw with a question.

“All the trouble she went to pretending to be a nurse is like, why didn’t you just finish nursing school?” ” she said.

In the letter Tymkiw received about Cleroux, COO Cheryl Davies said the hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority are currently doing a full review to determine how Cleroux was cleared to work there.

Cleroux is scheduled to appear in Vancouver Provincial Court for the first time on December 7.


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