The family of a Quebec boy has revealed that a trip to a private clinic on Canada Day to take care of a small cut went wrong when an untrained receptionist glued his eye shut.
Julia Vavatsikos took her 3-year-old son, Vincenzo, to a Blaineville clinic after the family cat scratched him on his eyelid.
Dr. Jean Therrien, the only doctor at the clinic that day, decided that medical glue could be used to seal the cut. He asked a colleague to come in to help with the procedure.
“I thought because it was Canada Day that maybe the clinic was short-staffed, and that [the colleague] was either a nurse or medical student,” Vavatsikos told CBC.
In fact, the co-worker turned out to be a part-time receptionist with no medical training.
“The doctor was holding my son and kind of holding his eye and then the co-worker applied glue," Vavatsikos said. "He kind of missed and he glued my son’s eye shut."
“My son was yelling, ‘Mommy! Mommy!’" she added. "He couldn’t open his eye, and also the doctor looked like he was panicking. He was trying to open my son’s eye with water and his fingers. He was even swearing at that point. I’ve never met any doctors that swear. At that point, I knew something was really wrong.”
After taking Vincenzo to an emergency room at Therrien’s instruction, a nurse told Vavatsikos she “couldn’t believe it.”
“She said, first of all, they try to avoid using glue because things like this could happen, especially on places like an eye,” Vavatsikos said. “But if they have to do it, the nurses aren’t allowed. It has to be a doctor or a specialist. At that point, I was even more frustrated.”
An ophthalmologist ultimately had to cut the boy’s eyelashes to open his eye. Another doctor has since confirmed that Vincenzo should not suffer any long-term complications.
One of the clinic’s owners maintained that the receptionist was allowed to apply the glue because the doctor was responsible for the “crucial medical act of holding the boy in place.”
They further claimed that the mishap occurred due to Vincenzo's suddenly moving.
The College des Medecins du Quebec, the regulatory organization for doctors in the province, has launched an investigation into the incident.
Vavatsikos was refunded by the clinic.