Doc fac­ing $5M suit

Arn­prior physi­cian, hos­pi­tal tar­get of mal­prac­tice claim

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - GARY DIM­MOCK gdim­mock@post­ twit­­den

When Ray Nicholas no­ticed a bump on his stom­ach, he went to see his fam­ily doc­tor and was ad­vised it was likely a her­nia, and that there was no need for treat­ment.

A month later, in July 2015, he re­turned to the doc­tor, com­plain­ing of pain. He says he was told to keep rub­bing and push­ing it in to al­le­vi­ate the dis­com­fort.

No med­i­ca­tion pre­scribed, no re­fer­ral to a spe­cial­ist.

A month af­ter that, Nicholas needed life-sav­ing surgery.

The de­tails of how Nicholas ended up on the brink of death are re­vealed in a $5-mil­lion mal­prac­tice and neg­li­gence law­suit filed by him against the Arn­prior & District Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal and Dr. Mark Rob­son.

The 18-page state­ment of claim says that doc­tors and hos­pi­tal staff failed him mis­er­ably, and ac­cuses them of ut­ter in­com­pe­tence at ev­ery step. None of the al­le­ga­tions has been tested in court, and Dr. Rob­son and the hos­pi­tal have yet to file state­ments of de­fence. In fact, a hos­pi­tal spokesman told the Sun that they have yet to re­ceive the state­ment of claim, and when they do, they won’t be com­ment­ing on the case.

On Aug. 12, 2015 — two months af­ter his first trip to the doc­tor — Nicholas felt se­vere pain. He was nau­seous, sweaty and had a fever so a friend brought him to the Arn­prior hos­pi­tal. The first nurse to see him fig­ured he had a stom­ach virus, and said he would be kept overnight for eval­u­a­tion by a sur­geon in the morn­ing.

His wife asked staff if Nicholas should be rushed to an Ot­tawa hos­pi­tal to see a sur­geon right away, but they said it was not nec­es­sary. The next morn­ing, on Aug. 13, 2015, Nicholas was seen by a sur­geon who or­dered that he be trans­ferred to the Queensway-Car­leton Hos­pi­tal in Ot­tawa. His wife says staff at the Arn­prior hos­pi­tal said it would be slow­go­ing be­cause the am­bu­lance would likely get stuck in morn­ing traf­fic. More­over, she said staff told her his con­di­tion was sta­ble and there was no need to rush him to the Ot­tawa hos­pi­tal. They told her to go out for break­fast and take her time get­ting to the Queensway-Car­leton Hos­pi­tal.

Once Nicholas fi­nally ar­rived at the hos­pi­tal, doc­tors there de­ter­mined that his her­nia had in fact rup­tured and he im­me­di­ately un­der­went surgery. Be­cause of the rup­tured her­nia, Nicholas suf­fered sep­tic shock, caus­ing heart fail­ure; a col­lapsed lung; and liver and kid­ney dam­age.

Now 37, Nicholas has had to learn how to do ev­ery­thing again, from breath­ing on his own to walk­ing.

“It’s been an ev­ery­day strug­gle,” he told the Sun.

“(Nicholas) was a se­cu­rity alarm tech­ni­cian. 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. (Nicholas’s) abil­ity to earn a liv­ing has been, and re­mains, im­paired,” states the law­suit.

Nicholas used to hunt and fish a lot. (He once caught a 54-pound muskie on the Madawaska.) And he used to coach his daugh­ter’s soft­ball team.

“But it all came to a halt,” said Nicholas.

He goes to the gym as of­ten as he can, and is slowly work­ing up the strength to go fish­ing again, and hope­fully with his young daugh­ter in tow.

“It’s been an ev­ery­day strug­gle.” Ray Nicholas

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