The Courts are Struggling with Causation Tests in Some Malpractice Cases - White v. St. Joseph’s Hospital (Hamilton), 2019 ONCA 312

May 23, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

White Hospital Beds This decision White v. St. Joseph’s Hospital (Hamilton), 2019 ONCA 312 tackled the allegation of malpractice in a case of delayed diagnosis. The decision upheld a lower court’s decision and included obiter remarks and is one of several cases in which the plaintiff failed to make their case for delayed infection.

Mr. White had routine surgery and suffered a ‘pinhole’ leak in his bowel which was not detected until a nurse noted signs of septic shock - mottled limbs - while bathing him. Mr. White claims he experienced pain, low blood pressure and reduced urine output prior to the mottling being noted. He claims that these were abnormal changes and that the hospital had not met its standard of care in the case in detecting the infection earlier. Mr. White acknowledged that the pin hole leak itself did not arise as a result of anyone’s negligence. His complaint is with the development subsequently of sepsis.

Mr. White also claims that immediately following his surgery he should have been administered certain medication and that the medical records were unclear whether it had been administered correctly. The Sepsis lead to Mr. White requiring a long hospital stay including admission to the ICU and remedial corrective surgery. He also suffered an unrelated perforated bowel. One expert testified that Mr. White’s outcome was mostly unavoidable. Experts testified that if a dose of the specific medication had been missed it would not have contributed to the development of the sepsis as the sepsis was already well underway.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario case highlights the uncertainty that exists surrounding causation in medical malpractices cases of delayed diagnosis allegations. reported that Paul Harte, principal at Harte Law acting for the appellant said “One of the things that this case demonstrates is the real challenge in establishing causation in a medical negligence case wen there are both negligent and non-negligent causes. In this case, it was alleged that there was a delay in treatment, but of course there was an underlying illness to begin with. And sorting out what materially contributes to a plaintiff’s loss can sometimes be very challenging as this case demonstrates.”

The appeal court upheld the lower court decision that the alleged negligence did not exacerbate Mr. White’s injury, nor cause or contribute to it, and that the award of $20,000 in costs to the respondent as Mr. White had not established the alleged negligence.


Posted under Accident Benefit News

View All Posts

About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

Practice Areas

  1. Car accidents
  2. Motorcycle accidents
  3. Automobile accident benefits
  4. Catastrophic injury
  5. Brain injury
  6. Paraplegia and Quadriplegia
  7. Spinal cord injury
  8. Drunk driving accidents
  9. Concussion syndrome
  1. Wrongful death
  2. Bicycle accidents
  3. Disability insurance claims
  4. Slip and fall injury
  5. Fractures or broken bone injury
  6. Pedestrian accidents
  7. Chronic pain
  8. Truck accidents
  9. Amputation and disfigurement

Personal Injury Blog

Sep 16, 2019
Back and Neck Pain After a Car Accident – What happen when your claims are denied?
Sep 12, 2019
Cannabis as an ideal treatment for post-concussion syndrome
Sep 10, 2019
University of Michigan Study Suggest that Exercise After Concussion Improves Recovery
Sep 05, 2019
T-Bone Accidents – Dangerous and Often Hard To Determine Who Is At Fault
Sep 03, 2019
6 Myths about Autonomous Car Adoption
Sep 02, 2019
Bikelash - It's a thing

More Personal Injury Articles » 
Review our services

Connect with us

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Youtube Google