In August 2017, the Ottawa Sun reported on a significant medical malpractice lawsuit launched in the national capital region. The $5-million claim was brought by Ray Nicholas of Arnprior, Ontario, against Dr. Mark Robson and the Arnprior & District Memorial Hospital. It highlights the potentially catastrophic results of a delayed diagnosis.

In summer 2015, Mr. Nicholas visited his family doctor regarding a lump on his stomach. The doctor posited that the lump was a hernia, and that it did not require treatment.

One month later, Mr. Nicholas returned to his doctor when the lump became painful. The doctor did not prescribe medication or refer Mr. Nicholas to a specialist.

By August 12, roughly a month following the second visit to his family doctor, Mr. Nicholas was suffering from serious pain, nausea, sweating, and a fever. He visited the hospital, where a nurse told him he likely had a stomach virus. He was kept overnight for evaluation the next morning.

The next day, he was seen by a surgeon and transferred to the Queensway-Carlton Hospital in Ottawa, roughly 70 kilometres away. When he eventually arrived there, doctors determined that Mr. Nicholas’s hernia had ruptured. The rupture resulted in septic shock, which caused heart failure, a collapsed lung, and damage to his liver and kidneys. Immediate surgery saved his life.

In the years following the procedure, Mr. Nicholas has had to relearn basic functions, from breathing to walking. His medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that his pain and suffering could have been avoided if his affliction had been accurately diagnosed more quickly.

“(Nicholas) was a security alarm technician,” the lawsuit’s statement of claim reads. “He has sustained and continues to sustain loss of income by reason of the breach of contract, breach of duty, negligence, battery, and medical malpractice. His ability to earn a living has been, and remains, impaired.”

Mr. Nicholas has also lost the ability to hunt, fish, and coach his daughter’s softball team, all activities he enjoyed prior to his accident.

“It’s been an everyday struggle,” Nicholas told Postmedia, which owns the Sun.

When a patient enters a hospital or visits a family doctor in Ontario, they are entitled to a certain standard of care. If that standard of care is breached through negligence, error, or omission, they may have grounds to launch a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury as a result of sub-standard medical care, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today. We can arrange a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your claim.


Image credit: Michael Burns/Flickr

Greg Neinstein