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Ex-Nunavut nurse Debbie McKeown fights suspension

02/12/2015 08:45 EST | Updated 04/14/2015 05:59 EDT
A former Nunavut nurse, at the centre of a controversy after refusing to see a baby who later died, is fighting her suspension from work.

In court documents, Debbie McKeown, 56, of Thunder Bay, Ont., argues that the regional nursing oversight body overstepped its authority when it suspended her licence last May and took additional disciplinary action in October. 

In October, the registered nurse was the subject of a CBC News investigation into a string of complaints filed against her.

- Nunavut orders health-care review following CBC investigation   

The mishandling of these complaints put the residents of Cape Dorset, where McKeown worked in the health centre, "at risk," according to internal health department emails.

Back in 2012, the nurse regulatory body had put conditions on McKeown's licence, declaring she couldn't treat children under the age of 10, unless it was an emergency.

That lasted for about a year, until McKeown completed certain courses, and ended in June of 2013. She remained employed by the government of Nunavut and was promoted to nurse in charge of the hamlet's health centre.

Now, in court documents, McKeown says that her recent temporary suspension is a re-investigation of the complaints filed in February of 2012 that led to the one-year condition on her licence barring her from treating children.

McKeown's lawyer filed the motion for a judicial review of her suspension on Feb. 9.

The court documents also seek to stop the nursing body from any further investigation related to the 2012 complaint. 

No specifics of the complaint in question are provided in the court document. The complaint about the baby boy's death was made a couple of months after the February complaints in question. 

Makibi Timilak was three months old when he died in early April of 2012 after McKeown refused to see the ill child. 

It's not clear whether an injunction would impact a series of additional allegations against McKeown that RNANT/NU is currently looking into.

The matter is scheduled to be back in court on March 13

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