The future care needs for a teen with a cerebral palsy who was allegedly left with more brain damage after a dental operation was the focus of a civil trial on Monday.
A lawsuit being tried before Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast alleges negligence on the part of Red Deer anesthetist Dr. Alayne Farries for failing to properly monitor patient Shawn Gallant or take appropriate steps when complications arose after the September 2004 operation.
Legal action was launched by Gallant’s parents Sharon and Paul Gallant. The family is seeking care costs and medical expenses, as well as $325,000 for pain and suffering.
The family alleges that following the operation, Gallant’s condition deteriorated significantly and he is now incapable of rational communication, can no longer watch TV or sports, is prone to aggressive outbursts and requires around-the-clock care.
A statement of defence from Farries denies any negligence. The claim states the procedure was “uneventful,” Gallant was properly monitored throughout, and there were no complications.
On Monday, the trial focused on a review by occupational therapist Sharon Kaczkowski of a cost-for-care assessment that had been prepared for the Gallants.
Kaczkowski said that the report’s claim that Gallant only required about four hours of care a day before the operation was a “significant understatement.”
Given his disabilities, Gallant had always required 24-hour care, although because of his worsening condition the kind of care required has changed, she said.
In his cross-examination of Kaczkowski, Calgary lawyer Brian Devlin, who is representing the Gallants, said Shawn, who is now 26, did not need 24-hour “hands-on care” previously but does now because of seizure-like episodes and other health problems.
Kaczkowski acknowledged different care may now be needed at night or when Gallant is suffering from seizure-like symptoms, but the 24-hour care requirement remains unchanged.
The trial resumes on Wednesday when Farries is expected to testify.