‘Fake’ nurse ‘worked in hospital for a year’ and ‘illegally dished out drugs’

A woman who has been accused of impersonating a nurse for years has been charged with personation with intent and fraud over $5,000.

This is following her giving patients drugs when she’s not qualified to do so.

In a news release, Vancouver police said they launched an investigation into Brigitte Cleroux, 49, after discovering that an employee at B.C. Women’s Hospital had been pretending to be a nurse from June 2020 to June 2021.

Police said Cleroux had been using the name of an actually qualified nurse while caring for patients at the hospital.

“We don’t yet know how many people in Vancouver may have received treatment from the fraudulent nurse, but we’re working with the provincial health services authority to identify patients who may have had contact with her,” said Constable Tania Visintin in the news release.

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The new charges against Cleroux come after Ottawa police made a string of charges against her in August, including assault with a weapon, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and using a forged document.

As per CBC News, Cleroux has a history of impersonating professionals, including nurses and teachers, and it dates back to 1991. She has been accused of administering injections, including sedatives and anaesthetics, on patients in both Vancouver and Ottawa.

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Cleroux attended a nursing program in Colorado but never completed it and was never licensed to practice, CBC News reported.

Earlier in June, the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives issued a warning about Cleroux, revealing that she may be using the aliases Melanie Smith, Melanie Thompson, or Melanie Cleroux.

Danette Thomsen, interim vice-president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, described the allegations as "absolutely alarming" and said she's never heard about something like this happening in the province.

"The fact that this can even happen raises questions around the controls from the health employers, and what is in place and is it enough — obviously not — to keep our patients and our staff safe," Thomsen said.

The hospital is operated by the Provincial Health Services Authority, which said it is working with police and will be reaching out to patients who received care from Cleroux.

"We can assure the public that we are reviewing this matter fully to determine how this occurred, any internal processes that may have contributed to it and impact to patients," the health authority said in a written statement.

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