Family’s suit says VIHA failed man who harmed self

The civil trial begins Monday in B.C. Supreme Court and is expected to take six weeks.

Plaintiff Joseph Briante alleges VIHA failed to have an adequate procedure for the proper psychiatric assessment and treatment of patients arriving in the emergency department of the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

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VIHA spokeswoman Sarah Plank said she was not able to comment on matters before the court.

According to his statement of claim, Briante went to the emergency department with his parents and his sister about 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2007.

Briante, then 32, and his parents were escorted to the psychiatric emergency services care area, where Briante was interviewed by a nurse.

The nurse also interviewed Briante’s parents, James and Carol Briante. They told the nurse their son was delusional and gave her information about his behaviour. Briante’s sister Christina also told the nurse that her brother was delusional.

Briante was seen and assessed by an emergency medicine physician, then discharged and sent home with his parents.

Less than a week later on Nov. 4, Briante cut himself several times on his neck and arm and stabbed himself several times in the abdomen.

He experienced a prolonged period of cerebral ischemia, or loss of blood supply to the brain.

The statement alleges that if Briante had been properly assessed, he would not have suffered these injuries.

Briante’s claim alleges the doctor failed to perform a standard psychiatric assessment, failed to take a complete medical history and failed to refer Briante for a general psychiatric consultation.

It alleges the doctor failed to diagnose Briante’s medical condition.

The statement also claims the doctor discharged Briante when she should have known he posed a danger to himself.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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