11 charges against fake nurse who worked at Vancouver hospital for a year

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Brigitte Cleroux, the woman who posed as a nurse for a year at the BC Women’s Hospital, has been charged with a slew of new offences, including 11 counts of assault and battery with a weapon.

A total of 15 new charges were sworn in in Vancouver Provincial Court on Wednesday, according to court records.

Cleroux, 50, is now charged with eight counts of assault with a weapon, three counts of assault, four counts of using a forged document, and one count each of fraud over $5,000 and impersonation with intent to obtain benefits. The assault charges involve 10 individual women who were patients at the hospital.

Vancouver police spokesman Sgt. Steve Addison said investigators have now spoken to more than 40 alleged victims from Cleroux’s time in the city.

“We’ve worked very closely with all of these victims to conduct investigations, and as you can imagine, these investigations are complicated — not only from the passage of time, but also because we’re dealing with very personal stories,” he told CBC .

Addison said more investigations are still ongoing and more charges are possible.

Charges of fraud and impersonation against Cleroux were first announced in Vancouver in November.

She worked as a perioperative nurse at the hospital from June 2020 to June 2021 and assisted with countless surgeries. Several patients have told the CBC that she gave them painkillers or sedation during their cases.

Spokesmen for the hospital’s operator, the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), declined to comment Friday on the new charges against Cleroux.

They instead pointed to a written statement from December which says the hospital has done a review to ensure there are no other fraudsters in the system and that this incident serves as “an unfortunate reminder that individuals with criminal intent exist in our world and can be motivated to harm both people and organizations.”

Attorney Scott Stanley, who represents a number of patients treated by Cleroux at BC Women’s Hospital, addressed the new allegations in a written statement.

“When people have been fooled, there can be a temptation to think it was by genius. Often it’s a failure to follow basic common sense procedures,” he said.

“These recent allegations against Ms. Cleroux illustrate the need for institutions to have such procedures in place and follow them.”

At least 67 adult convictions

This is far from the first time Cleroux has been accused of crimes related to impersonation.

She has a long criminal history across North America with at least 67 convictions as an adult, including several for impersonating a nurse or teacher. She is still wanted on two active warrants in Florida and one in Colorado.

Cleroux is currently incarcerated after receiving a seven-year prison sentence for crimes including impersonation, assault with a weapon and assault related to her time as a nurse at a fertility clinic and dental clinic in Ottawa for a few weeks in the summer of 2021.

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

BC Women’s Hospital patients have filed a proposed class action lawsuit accusing PHSA of negligence.

In a response to those allegations, PHSA denied that administrators should have known Cleroux was a fake — and said it took all reasonable steps to verify she was a qualified nurse.

The PHSA response also reveals that Cleroux’s colleagues began complaining that she was rude and disrespectful within weeks of starting at the hospital.

She was placed on administrative leave for a few weeks in the fall of 2020 while administrators investigated five separate incidents, including using force on a patient and saying she would “hit or punch” a colleague in the face, according to the PHSA response.

That behavior ultimately resulted in a one-day suspension, after which she was allowed to return to work, the health authority says.

During her leave from the hospital, Cleroux appears to have found more nursing work at BC Management at Victoria’s private View Royal Surgical Clinic has confirmed she worked there for three weeks in November 2020.

Cleroux’s next appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court is scheduled for Sept. 22.

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