A former Red Deer family has taken two doctors to court, alleging their son suffered brain damage as a result of dental surgery at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre in 2004.
Shawn Gallant, who has cerebral palsy, was 18 at the time of the surgery to remove his wisdom teeth.
The statement of claim filed by his parents, Sharon and Paul Gallant, alleges that the brain damage caused severe alteration and deterioration of Gallant’s pre-existing condition to the point where he requires 24-hour care. It has rendered him incapable of any rational communication and prone to unpredictable aggressive outbursts and physical attacks on his parents and other caregivers, the claim says.
Dr. G.R. Nye, a dental surgeon, and Dr. Alayne Farries, an anesthesiologist, are named as defendants in the case.
In their statement of defence, the doctors denied any negligence.
The family is seeking care costs and medical expenses on behalf of their son, as well as $325,000 for pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life.
The civil trial began last year and resumed on Tuesday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before Justice Monica Bast.
Sharon Gallant testified that before the surgery, her son was very social with no communication problems and could operate his motorized wheelchair.
He enjoyed watching news and sports on television and had season tickets to the Red Deer Rebels.
But after the surgery, he rarely spoke, was unco-operative and didn’t want to participate in activities. Some days, he would not chew or swallow his food.
“Everything was a struggle,” said his mother.
“He didn’t sleep. He was restless. He drove (his wheelchair) in circles.”
The family has to be careful that he is not overstimulated and he continues to have lengthy episodes when his body becomes rigid, vibrates and he sweats through his clothes.
At one point, Gallant was moved into Bethany Care Centre because it became difficult to care for him.
Gallant and his mother now live in Prince Edward Island to be close to family. His father, who works in the oil industry in Alberta, visits P.E.I. frequently.
His mother said it’s hard to remember the good times she had with her son before the surgery.
“Before we had a great quality of life. Now we don’t.” said his mother.
“Now he’s just there.”
The three-week trial continues today.