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Jan 05 2010

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Settlement reached in case of slain Windsor nurse

By Joel Tiller, The Globe and Mail

A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit between a Windsor hospitaland the family of a nurse murdered on the job by a troubled former lover.

Lori Dupont was stabbed to death while tending to patients at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital in 2005, and her death has since spurred lawmakers to address issues involving workplace violence and harassment.

Marc Daniel, an anesthesiologist at the same hospital, attacked Ms. Dupont with a commando-style knife in front of patients and a colleague. He later committed suicide by drug overdose.

Although financial terms of the settlement have not been publicly disclosed, the Dupont family is very satisfied with the outcome, said Greg Monforton, lead counsel for the family.

Before her death, Ms. Dupont, 37, and Dr. Daniel, 50, were romantically linked and at one stage of their relationship shared a home.

Dr. Daniel had a long history of disruptive, and sometimes violent, behaviour toward hospital staff, including Ms. Dupont. His work privileges were reinstated after he was suspended and ordered to seek counselling, following a suicide attempt in February of 2005.

“Anybody who followed this case knows this was a huge systemic failure,” Mr. Monforton said, in reaction to the events leading up to Ms. Dupont’s death. “But the important thing for the people of Ontario to know is that this has been settled.”

In December of 2009, Bill 168 – aimed at amending the current Occupational Health and Safety Act to require specific workplace policies and procedures to deal with violence and harassment – passed the third and final reading in the Ontario Legislature.

The legislation is expected to be made law this summer, Mr. Monforton said.

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital has already implemented its own internal regulations to avoid a similar incident from happening, said Kim Spirou, the hospital’s vice-president of communications.

“We’ve put into place all 65 coroner jury recommendations,” Ms. Spirou said.

Among the recommendations was that a Safe Work Place Advocate be readily available to listen to employee concerns, she said.

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