Nova Scotia Health has filed its defence in relation to the death of a Mi'kmaw woman who died in provincial custody earlier this year.
Sarah Rose Denny, 36, died at the Dartmouth General Hospital in March after being held in the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, prompting calls for a public inquiry.
Her family is suing the province's health authority and attorney general for negligence and is seeking unspecified damages.
According to the lawsuit, Denny died in hospital of double pneumonia after a nurse at the jail assumed she was suffering from alcohol withdrawal.
The family's claim alleges Denny was denied appropriate medical care, was discriminated against based on her history of addiction, and ultimately died as a result of the defendants' negligence.
Health authority denies negligence
In its statement of defence filed in September, Nova Scotia Health denies claims of negligence and says they did not breach the duty of care owed to Denny.
"Any care provided by them to Sarah Rose Denny was provided reasonably, appropriately and in a manner consistent with the applicable standard of care in the circumstances," the statement of defence says.
The statement of claim also outlined specific ways NSH was negligent in treating Denny.
The list includes failing to conduct a health assessment when Denny arrived at the facility, failing to respond to her requests to see a physician, and failing to respond with appropriate medical attention when Denny was in "excruciating pain."
In its defence, Nova Scotia Health specifically denied each of those claims.
NSH asks for dismissal
According to the family's claim, the nurse's assumption Denny was suffering from alcohol withdrawal was a breach of her Charter rights.
Under the Charter, a person cannot be discriminated against based on "a recognized disability" such as a history of addiction, the claim says.
In its defence, Nova Scotia Health says the plaintiffs have "no claim for breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
NSH is requesting the lawsuit against them be dismissed with costs.
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