Physician’s record keeping and review of symptoms did not fall below standard of care

Health Law - Malpractice - Negligence

Defendant physician was patient’s family doctor and saw him on regular basis, including for periodic health review in February 2011 where patient reported that he felt “generally well”. Patient’s cardiac risk factors were low, and he had not previously reported any symptoms of angina to physician. In June of 2011, patient reported that since July 2010, he had been experiencing intermittent dyspepsia, followed by presyncope and occasional left arm discomfort (“triad of symptoms”). Physician made referral for stress test to rule out cardiac-related cause of triad of symptoms, which was not sent, and patient died in August 2011 as result of advanced coronary artery disease. Plaintiffs, who were patient’s estate and family, alleged that physician breached standard of care of family physician by failing to ask questions during February 2011 physical examination which would have elicited triad of symptoms. Plaintiffs brought action against physician for damages. Action dismissed. Physician’s record keeping and review of symptoms did not fall below standard of care of family physician conducting periodic health examination in February 2011. Standard of care of family physician conducting review of symptoms required only that physician ask question of patient, it did not require that physician elicit specific response. Patient was not experiencing significant symptoms in February 2011 and therefore, no level of questioning would have elicited triad of symptoms. There was no evidence that patient was not candid in his responses to physician’s questions, and patient was not individual who downplayed symptoms or failed to disclose health concerns. Physician had followed his usual practice throughout period of time that he was treating patient.

The Estate of Carlo DeMarco et al. v. Dr. Martin et al. (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 6852, 2019 ONSC 2788, A.K. Mitchell J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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