06:48, August 20 156 0 theguardian.com

2020-08-20 06:48:04
St Basil's faces class action suit for allegedly breaching duty of care amid Covid crisis

St Basil’s aged care home breached its duty of care and failed its residents, according to a writ filed in the Victorian supreme court over the nursing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has cost dozens of the centre’s residents their lives.

The writ, obtained by Guardian Australia, was filed on Thursday and lists Effie Fotiadis as the first applicant in a case that could include residents, their families, employees, or the estates of residents at the Victorian aged care centre.

Fotadis’ 79-year-old father, Dimitrios died on 25 July, after becoming infected with Covid-19 at St Basil’s.

There have been 193 cases of coronavirus linked to the Fawkner-based centre and 31 residents have died from Covid-19.

The writ, filed by Carbone Lawyers partner John Karantzis, alleges Dimitrios Fotadis was not properly isolated or given personal protective equipment, and was made to live in “an unhygienic personal care condition and a unhygienic residential environment.”

The writ alleges St Basil’s breached its duty of care in allegedly allowing staff or residents not to wear PPE, to rove freely within the centre when there was a risk of spreading Covid-19, allowing staff from other centres entry to St Basil’s without having self-isolated or provide an up-to-date vaccination against the flu, and failed to act in Fotadis’s best interests.

The writ alleges the centre was not compliant with legislation, regulations and professional standards, and failed to provide adequate and appropriately trained staff.

The centre is also accused of failing to heed the warnings of state and federal governments of the dangers of Covid-19 and “improperly concealing from and/or misrepresenting information to the plaintiff, and all relevant government authorities concerning the severity of risks and dangers of Covid-19 contamination and spread at St Basil’s”.

St Basil’s had not yet filed a response and Guardian Australia attempted to contact St Basil’s.

Earlier this month, the aged care regulator revealed it took four days to inform the department of health of the outbreak in early July.

The outbreak led to all the staff at St Basil’s being stood down and replaced with a surge workforce, after the federal government intervened.