Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Blog

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Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury
By Patterson MedMal on 12/23/2013 3:52 PM
If you are considering pursuing a medical malpractice claim to be decided by a jury as opposed to a judge, it should be remembered that jury verdicts are accorded a high degree of deference by appeal courts and will not be easily overturned.

The recent case of Goodwin v. Olupona, 2013 ONCA 259, involved the birth of twins by the plaintiff, Debra Goodwin. The first twin, Jessica, was delivered vaginally without complications. The second twin, Adam, was delivered by Caesarean section (“C-section”). Unfortunately, Adam was injured prior to birth and, shortly after he was born, was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia. Mr. and Ms. Goodwin, on their own behalf and on behalf of their three children, brought a negligence action against the health professionals involved in Adam’s delivery and against the hospital where Adam was born.
By Patterson MedMal on 12/23/2013 2:17 PM
If you are considering pursuing a medical malpractice claim to be decided by a jury as opposed to a judge, it should be remembered that jury verdicts are accorded a high degree of deference by appeal courts and will not be easily overturned. 

The recent case of Goodwin v. Olupona, 2013 ONCA 259, involved the birth of twins by the plaintiff, Debra Goodwin. The first twin, Jessica, was delivered vaginally without complications. The second twin, Adam, was delivered by Caesarean section (“C-section”). Unfortunately, Adam was injured prior to birth and, shortly after he was born, was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia. Mr. and Ms. Goodwin, on their own behalf and on behalf of their three children, brought a negligence action against the health professionals involved in Adam’s delivery and against the hospital where Adam was born.
By Patterson MedMal on 12/16/2013 12:07 PM

It may be tempting to think that as a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, all one needs to enter as evidence are medical records. It may be tempting to think that the error(s) allegedly committed by the health care professional(s) would be apparent upon reading the medical files. Yet, the importance of expert testimony was recently emphasized by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench in Harden v Chang, 2013 SKQB 419.

By Patterson MedMal on 12/2/2013 10:21 AM
The issue of consent often arises in medical malpractice cases. Physicians have an obligation to obtain informed consent from their patients; that is, to ensure that their patient is fully informed about their treatment, including the type of treatment, the risks involved, and any alternatives. But what happens when a doctor obtains consent for one procedure, and then performs another?
By Patterson MedMal on 11/18/2013 12:43 PM

In a medical emergency, it often feels like time is critical. Decisions are quickly made, actions swiftly carried out. Consequently, delay in medical treatment is often subject to criticism. But as the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently decided in Mangal v William Osler Health Centre (2013 ONSC 2313), delayed treatment might be an error; it might even be a breach in the standard of care expected of a physician. But delay alone is not sufficient to give rise to a claim in negligence if acting faster or sooner would not have changed the outcome.

 

By Patterson MedMal on 10/25/2013 7:59 AM
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Cojocaru (Guardian ad litem of) v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital & Health Centre, 2013 SCC 30, reminds us of the necessity of proving causation in a medical malpractice claim. It reiterates how proving an error was committed by a physician or nurse is not enough to prove one’s claim.

In this decision, the mother’s uterus ruptured during induced labour and her infant was born with significant brain damage. The mother and infant brought an action for damages in medical negligence against the Hospital; attending Nurses Bellini, MacQueen and Verwoerd; and Drs. Dale R. Steele, Jenise Yue and Fawaz Edris.
By Patterson MedMal on 8/19/2013 12:49 PM
During the course of their professional duties, physician and other health care professionals are sometimes called to treat patients with wounds that may raise the suspicion of criminal activity. Recent legislation in seven provinces now requires health care facilities to report the treatment of gunshot wounds to the local police. With the exception of Ontario and Nova Scotia, these statutes also provide that stab wounds be reported in the same fashion:
By Patterson MedMal on 8/16/2013 2:11 PM
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Ontario, Akl v Collins, 2013 ONSC 3292, demonstrates that while the particular circumstances of the patient may be taken into account, the determination of ‘what is a material risk’ is objective.

Mr. and Mrs. Akl had been trying unsuccessfully to have a child for several years when Mr. Akl was referred to the defendant physician, Dr. Collins – a well-known doctor in the field of male infertility.
By Patterson MedMal on 8/13/2013 1:43 PM

Medical malpractice suits in Canada typically arise in the context of negligent delivery of treatment. We might think of botched surgeries, where the doctor has not executed an operation with the skill or prudence demanded by a medical standard of care. Yet a doctor’s duty to his or her patient does not end when the scalpel is put down. There will be times when a doctor may still be held liable for steps taken after the hands-on treatment is complete and the patient has returned home.

In Dwyer v Maharajh, 2009 NLTD 179, the plaintiff underwent a procedure to remove a stone from her right uterer. After the surgery, she was advised by the defendant surgeon that as a result of the procedure she had a small tear in her uterer. The surgeon was aware, however, that the tear was significantly larger and more serious than his initial comments to the plaintiff indicated.

By Patterson MedMal on 7/17/2013 3:29 PM
The recent Ontario Court of Appeal case Manary v Strban, 2013 ONCA 319 upheld the lower court’s decision (2011 ONSC 176) that the designated attending physician may be found negligent for following the non-negligent recommendations of other physicians.

In Manary, the pregnant patient (“Ms. Manary”) was admitted to hospital with serious chest pain and shortness of breath. According to the policies of that hospital, the attending physician, or ‘Most Responsible Practitioner’, must be an obstetrician despite the fact that Ms. Manary’s condition was not directly related to her pregnancy.

Ms. Manary was seen by a respirologist, who suspected that the problem was either a pulmonary embolism or an aortic dissection. The respirologist performed tests, which did not positively indicate either condition. However, pulmonary embolisms are a common condition in pregnant women, and so Ms. Manary was started on treatment for...