A man with a serious medical condition has won almost $900,000 in damages after suing a doctor who prescribed a medication that caused him significant long-term complications.
Jeffrey Baglot initiated the lawsuit after a powerful anti-inflammatory drug prescribed to him at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) by Dr. Clasina Fourie during a flareup of his Crohn’s disease in 2011 caused a large ulcer that eventually perforated and required surgery to be repaired.
Baglot stated that as a result of the error, he was left with scar tissue, chronic pain requiring high doses of opioids, increased fatigue and an exacerbation of his health problems.
Consequently, he said he developed severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and “visceral hypersensitivity.”
“He is totally disabled, in constant pain, housebound and isolated,” said Justice Diane MacDonald in her ruling Jan. 31 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
“He is not the same man he was before his hospitalization and he certainly cannot work.”
Fourie admitted the prescription error, and said that Baglot was entitled to damages resulting from the perforated ulcer, surgery and hospitalization. The key issue during the trial was whether she was responsible for his lasting injuries.
Baglot was 26 at the time of his admission to ARH in July 22, 2011. The court heard that he was in severe abdominal pain and felt sick and weak.
Fourie, a general practitioner, was the doctor primarily responsible for Baglot during his stay. He began taking the drug ketorolac after Fourie prescribed it to him starting on July 23.
A CT scan on July 29 showed no evidence of a perforated ulcer or abscess, the court heard.
Baglot’s condition worsened to the point where he could not walk, and he was transferred to Royal Columbian Hospital on Aug. 2.
There, doctors discovered a perforated ulcer on his small intestine, and surgery was performed.
Baglot then suffered two “bleeds” – one on Aug. 6 and the second, more serious, one on Aug. 29, at which time he was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Baglot testified that he had several blood transfusions and was in and out of consciousness. He said his body was shutting down, and he thought he was going to die.
This caused him significant trauma and ongoing psychological stress, he testified.
Baglot remained in the ICU for a few days and was discharged on Sept. 12, after a 53-day hospital stay.
He and others who know him – including his mother – testified that he has never been the same since that hospital stay.
“He is largely in pain, dependent on opioids, depressed and struggles to keep on weight,” the judge’s ruling state.
“He has lost friends, is isolated, has problems managing his time, and cannot deal with change.”
Fourie argued that the perforated ulcer was an isolated incident and that Baglot would be in his current condition regardless of the injury.
But MacDonald referenced the testimony of several medical experts – including a gastroenterologist from the University of California – in arriving at her ruling that Fourie was responsible for Baglot’s ongoing physical and emotional issues.
She awarded Baglot a total of $888,000 – $146,000 in non-pecuniary damages, $63,000 in past wage loss, $440,000 in loss of future earning capacity, $54,000 in trust for his mother, and $185,000 in costs of future care.