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Trial date set for birth tourist lawsuit against Richmond doctors, hospital

Peng Chen has been ordered to hand over all documents relating to his family's residency or immigration status in Canada
Vancouver Coastal Health, which operates Richmond Hospital, is being sued for negligence by so-called "birth tourists."

A trial date has been set in the BC Supreme Court for the claim filed by a so-called “birth tourist,” who’s suing Richmond doctors, Richmond Hospital and a local “birth hotel.”

Late March has been pencilled in for the case of Peng Chen, on behalf of his now four-year-old son Stephen, who was born at Richmond Hospital in 2018 with alleged complications.

Chen alleges that two doctors — Brenda Tan and Balbinder Gill — as well as Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), were negligent in the provision of medical care to Stephen and his mother, Rang Heng, at Richmond Hospital.

He also claims the Richmond birthing house business – which got paid to set up the birth locally for the family from China - misrepresented the level of care that his wife and child would receive in Canada.

So-called “birth tourism” refers to the legal, tried and trusted practice of expectant mothers arriving in Canada to purposely give birth here, due to children being born in Canada automatically receiving citizenship.

Prior to the trial date being set, Dr. Tan’s lawyer had applied to the court to order Chen to release documents relating to his family’s visitor or residency status in Canada.

The reason for the demand, according to court documents, was because where the child and his family will live in the future, and therefore their residency and immigration status, may affect the “assessment of the infant plaintiff’s income loss and cost of future care.”

Documents also indicated that Dr. Tan’s lawyer had twice requested the documents from Chen’s legal team, without success.

However, the court recently ordered that the information pertaining to Chen and his family’s status in Canada be made known to the defence.

“…all documents, communications, applications, or documents relating to other processes regarding the infant plaintiff's and his family's visitor status in Canada, residency, or immigration status from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada” be handed over.

And that “…all documents regarding the infant plaintiff's residence in Canada and eligibility for coverage under the Medical Services Plan from Health Insurance BC” also be made known.

The Richmond News reported last month how Chen’s lawsuit makes references to complications at the time of Stephen’s birth, resulting in his son being in the intensive care unit for several days afterwards.

Chen, a resident of China at the time, claims that, as a result of negligence in 2018, his son suffered brain damage, seizures, delayed growth and development, cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment.

He further alleges that Jie Zheng and a Ms. Liang — who operated or worked at ABC, a birthing house on Ash Street in Richmond — misrepresented the level of antenatal and/or perinatal care and expertise that his wife and child would receive in Canada.

Chen claims that, because he had “little or no knowledge of the health-care system in Canada” he was “particularly vulnerable” to the alleged misrepresentations from Zheng and Liang.

He alleged that ABC was negligent in misrepresenting the level of care, both in its adverts in China and to the family when they arrived in Canada.

All named defendants in the lawsuit have denied any negligence.


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