Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 21, 2016 - 7:00 am

Regulator opens two new investigations into former Nunavut nurse

Deborah McKeown’s lawyer wants court to quash new allegations

THOMAS ROHNER
The lawyer representing former Nunavut nurse Deborah McKeown has gone to court in an attempt to quash two new investigations mounted by the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The first investigation lists 17 allegations of nursing misconduct, while the second lists seven. (FILE PHOTO)
The lawyer representing former Nunavut nurse Deborah McKeown has gone to court in an attempt to quash two new investigations mounted by the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The first investigation lists 17 allegations of nursing misconduct, while the second lists seven. (FILE PHOTO)

The self-governing regulatory body for Nunavut nurses has opened two new investigations into allegations of malpractice concerning former Cape Dorset nurse Deborah McKeown.

The investigations, by the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, will look at 24 new allegations, including allegations that McKeown misdiagnosed, mistreated and refused to see patients, bullied staff, hid narcotics and falsified timesheets while working in Cape Dorset between 2012 and 2013.

Nunatsiaq News reported some of these on July 13, before we had access to complete lists that set out all the allegations.

Among these is an allegation that McKeown, as nurse-in-charge, asked a nurse to tell a patient that her husband had just died by suicide.

“The female patient screamed and cried, and denied her husband would do such a thing,” the allegation said.

McKeown then informed the nurse that McKeown was mistaken — it was the patient’s son who had died by suicide.

McKeown insisted the nurse tell the patient about this mistake, but the nurse refused to correct McKeown’s errors.

“McKeown had not followed any of the policy and procedure for dealing with a suicide including not pronouncing death, as is part of the protocol,” court documents said.

This is according to documents filed in court by McKeown’s lawyer, Austin Marshall, in two new civil cases opened on McKeown’s behalf.

The nursing association’s executive director filed two complaints against McKeown, according to the court record: one on April 7 that includes 17 allegations, and another on May 3 that includes seven allegations.

The two new court files, opened in April and May respectively, are similar: both ask the Nunavut courts for a judicial review to quash the complaints and investigations.

And the grounds for requesting the review in both files are identical, namely that the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut [RNANT/NU], McKeown’s lawyer alleges, abused its authority and took too long to investigate the allegations.

None of the allegations against McKeown or against the nursing association have been proven in court.

One of the allegations made by the nursing body is that McKeown, as nurse-in-charge, “failed to follow the mandated steps respecting [the] investigation of a serious incident,” after the death of Makibi Timilak in 2012.

Hours before Baby Makibi died, McKeown refused to see the sick infant, an external review of that incident found.

The 17 allegations made by the nursing body in April include:

• three allegations of misdiagnosis;

• six allegations of refusing care; and,

• three allegations of mishandling narcotics.

In May, the association filed seven new allegations against McKeown, which accuse the former nurse of failing in her duties as Supervisor of Community Health Programs — a promotion McKeown received after Baby Makibi’s death.

The allegations made in May state that McKeown:

• improperly administered the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine to 37 clients putting those clients at risk and costing the Government of Nunavut $10,000;

• failed to keep medications and supplies properly-stocked;

• failed to ensure proper management of four community health programs for over 60 clients; and,

• claimed overtime for treating a patient she did not treat.

The nursing body also accused McKeown of selling, without authority, the personal possessions of a fellow nurse, Susan Validen, after Validen died.

“McKeown told a group of staff… she had donated the proceeds of the sale… to a school in Cape Dorset,” court documents said.

But when a local casual employee told that same group of staff that McKeown had not donated that money to a local school, McKeown did not renew the casual employee’s contract, the nursing body alleged.

Court documents show that the nursing body’s lawyer, Adrian Wright, hoped to argue a motion July 12 to dismiss at least one of the two new civil cases filed by McKeown.

But Justice Paul Bychok told lawyers May 12 Justice Paul Bychok told lawyers May 12 that a meeting in judge’s chambers would be set up for that at a later time.

The RNANT/NU performs a regulatory function similar to that performed by “nursing colleges” in some provinces.

  Complaint 1 McKeown July 20 by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

  Complaint 2 McKeown by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

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