Surgery left plaintiff unable to cock wrist, which was critical to golf career

Torts - Negligence - Causation

Plaintiff, who had made his living teaching and hustling golf for over 40 years, had wrist pain and elected to have wrist fusion surgery because he had heard it would improve pain and still let him play competitive golf. Plaintiff went to defendant orthopaedic surgeon, who performed total wrist fusion and inserted metal plate into plaintiff’s wrist, which rendered joint essentially immobile and with immobile wrist, plaintiff could no longer cock his wrist as was required for golf. Informed consent statement only referred to wrist fusion surgery and not total wrist fusion surgery. Plaintiff did not know until after surgery that metal plate had been inserted into his wrist, and he also developed chronic regional pain syndrome (RSD), which caused considerable pain and loss of function. Plaintiff brought successful action against defendant for medical malpractice. Trial judge applied modified objective test and found that reasonable person in plaintiff’s shoes who was properly informed would not have chosen total wrist fusion surgery and would have opted for less drastic surgery. Trial judge found that total wrist fusion surgery left plaintiff unable to cock his left wrist, which was critical to his life and livelihood as golfer and which he lost after surgery. Defendant appealed. Appeal dismissed. Trial judge did not err in analyzing law of causation. Defendant’s central thesis was that basis for trial judge’s decision was that damage arose from RSD, which was not correct. Trial judge asserted repeatedly in her reasons that it was total wrist fusion surgery that plaintiff had without proper warning that prevented him from playing golf.

Solomon v. Abughaduma (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 14007, 2019 ONCA 677, David M. Paciocco J.A., Harvison Young J.A., and B. Zarnett J.A. (Ont. C.A.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellOnt 8787, 2018 ONSC 3287, J. Wilson J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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