Girl at centre of $22M lawsuit against QEH dies

Efforts for Emma/Facebook

Emma Roche, the nine-year-old Charlottetown girl at the centre of a $22-million lawsuit against the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and one of its doctors, has died.

"It is with the greatest sorrow that Danny and I share the passing of our precious little Emma," Melissa Driscoll, Emma's mother, wrote in a Facebook post.

"She was the light of our lives and we are completely heartbroken. We held her in our arms for the last time this past Sunday at the IWK. She fought so hard to be here, and she brought us so much happiness. We can't imagine life without her."

When she was eight months old, Emma suffered severe brain damage after being seen in hospital for influenza and croup.

After that she needed 24-hour care, according to her parents.

Case was still awaiting trial

In 2012, the family filed a lawsuit against the P.E.I. government, the legal designate of the QEH, and four doctors. Three of the doctors were dropped from the lawsuit in 2016, leaving the P.E.I. government and one doctor as defendants.

Efforts for Emma/Facebook

In their statements of defence, the defendants said they met the requisite standard of care, have no direct knowledge of her diagnosis and deny all the allegations against them.

The case was still awaiting trial when Emma died. The family's lawyer, Ray Wagner, said this week the family will be grieving the loss of Emma, and also celebrating her life and the joy that she brought.

But he said the court case will continue, with amendments.

Changing focus of lawsuit

"A big part of the claim relates to cost of care and of course with Emma's passing there is no future cost of care."

Wagner said delays in getting the case to trial were "extraordinary," and they will be changing the focus of the lawsuit to "the denial of access to justice in a timely fashion." 

"The system has horribly let Emma and her family down. And the family is very concerned that this doesn't repeat for other families," he said.

The funeral for Emma Roche will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. St. Dunstan's Basilica in Charlottetown.

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