HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONALS — Liability (malpractice) — Negligence — Causation — Duty of care

Law360 Canada (June 7, 2024, 1:59 PM EDT) -- Appeal by appellants from trial judge’s dismissal of their negligence action on grounds that appellants had established prima facie case on causation and respondent failed to adduce evidence sufficient to displace that prima facie case. Johnson suffered two strokes. While the first stroke was less severe, the second stroke was major and life-altering, with significant long-lasting consequences. There were only two witnesses at trial, namely the appellant's expert, Doctor Caplan, and the respondent's expert, Doctor Gladstone. Doctor Caplan testified the Second Stroke was caused by blood clots that formed at the site of the artery dissection and that, if Johnson had not been discharged and had been prescribed Heparin, he would not have suffered the Second Stroke. Doctor Gladstone disagreed concluding that, on a balance of probabilities, it was unlikely that Johnson's outcome would have been any better had he been prescribed Heparin rather than Aspirin. Doctor Gladstone primarily based his opinion on a review of Johnson's medical records and on the best available evidence from the medical literature on the treatment of artery dissections. This literature did not support the superiority of anticoagulant therapy such as Heparin over antiplatelet therapy such as Aspirin. The trial judge was not satisfied that the Second Stroke would have been prevented if Johnson had been placed on Heparin instead of Aspirin at the time of his initial discharge from hospital. As such, the plaintiffs failed to prove causation and the action was dismissed....
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