Lapointe v. Chevrette, (1992) 133 N.R. 116 (SCC)

JudgeSopinka, Gonthier and Cory, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateFebruary 13, 1992
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1992), 133 N.R. 116 (SCC);1992 CanLII 119 (SCC);133 NR 116;9 CPC (3d) 78;[1992] 1 SCR 351;45 QAC 262;JE 92-302;90 DLR (4th) 7;[1992] SCJ No 11 (QL);AZ-92111029;10 CCLT (2d) 101

Lapointe v. Chevrette (1992), 133 N.R. 116 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Doctor Maurice Chevrette (defendant-appellant) v. Gabrielle Imbeault-Lapointe and Paul-Emile Lapointe in his personal capacity and as tutor to his daughter Nancy Lapointe (plaintiffs-respondents)

(21697)

Indexed As: Lapointe v. Chevrette

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé,

Sopinka, Gonthier and Cory, JJ.

February 13, 1992.

Summary:

Five year old Nancy Lapointe was playing when she suffered an accident that caused a severe cut to her right humeral artery and surrounding muscles and nerves. She was bleeding profusely. Her mother, helped by her brother-in-law, wrapped Nancy's arm tightly in a cloth. Nancy was taken to Hôpi­tal Le Gardeur, a small general hospital off the eastern tip of Montreal Island. Dr. Chevrette was the doctor on call. He and a nurse placed a tourniquet on Nancy's arm and administered an intravenous fluid to replace lost liquid. Dr. Chevrette examined the wound to the artery but was unable to repair it on the premises. There was no blood transfusion. Dr. Chevrette arranged a transfer to Hôpital Ste-Justine, a paediatrics teaching hospital 30 km away in Montreal. The ambulance ride from Le Gardeur to Ste-Justine took 25 minutes. Thirty minutes after arrival, Nancy suffered a cardio-respi­ratory arrest due to massive loss of blood. Emergency measures were undertaken but the flow of oxygen to Nancy's brain was interrupted for too long. Nancy suffered irreversible and permanent brain damage which left her totally incapacitated. The Lapointe's sued Dr. Chevrette and Hôpital Le Gardeur. The Quebec Superior Court (Valle­rand, J.), in an unreported judgment, dis­missed the action. The Lapointe's appealed.

The Quebec Court of Appeal, Beauregard, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported at [1989] R.J.Q. 2619; 25 Q.A.C. 33; 2 C.C.L.T.(2d) 97, allowed the appeal. Dr. Chevrette and Hôpital Le Gardeur appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in two judgments, allowed the appeal without costs throughout. The first judgment, reported here, deals with Dr. Chevrette's appeal. The judgment dealing with Hôpital Le Gardeur's appeal is reported immediately after.

Medicine - Topic 4242

Liability of practitioners - Negligence or fault - Standard of care - Five year old Nancy Lapointe was experiencing severe arterial haemorrhaging - She was taken to Hôpital Le Gardeur in Repentigny, Que. - Dr. Chevrette was on call - He was unable to repair the damaged artery at Le Gardeur - He sent Nancy to Hôpital Ste-Justine, a children's hospital in Montreal - There was no blood transfusion - Information given to Ste-Justine was brief - Thirty min­utes after arrival at Ste-Justine, Nancy suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest - Oxygen flow to her brain stopped - Nancy became totally incapacitated - Her parents sued Dr. Chevrette - The action was dis­missed - The Supreme Court of Canada, basing its judgment on art. 1053 C.C.L.C., affirmed the trial judge's decision that Dr. Chevrette's conduct was the same as that of a reasonable and diligent doctor placed in the same circumstances - See para­graphs 1 to 14 and 34 to 78.

Médecine - Cote 4242

Responsabilité des médecins - Négligence ou faute - Norme de conduite - [Voir Medicine - Topic 4242 ].

Practice - Topic 8800

Appeals - Duty of appellate court regard­ing findings of fact by a trial judge - The Supreme Court of Canada restored a Que­bec Superior Court trial decision dismiss­ing an action for medical malpractice because there was no manifest error of fact by the trial judge that justified the Quebec Court of Appeal to overturn his decision - See paragraphs 15 to 33.

Procédure - Cote 8800

Appels - Rôle d'une cour d'appel relative­ment aux conclusions de fait du juge du procès - [Voir Practice - Topic 8800 ].

Quebec Procedure - Topic 7952

Appeal - Duty of Court of Appeal regard­ing findings of fact by the trial judge - The Supreme Court of Canada restored a Quebec Superior Court trial decision dis­missing an action for medical malpractice because there was no manifest error of fact by the trial judge that justified the Quebec Court of Appeal to overturn his decision - See paragraphs 15 to 33.

Québec: Procédure - Cote 7952

Appel - Rôle de la Cour d'appel relative­ment aux conclusions de fait du juge du procès - [Voir Quebec Procedure - Topic 7952 ].

Quebec Responsibility - Topic 3801

Doctors - Basis of liability - Five year old Nancy Lapointe was experiencing severe arterial haemorrhaging - She was taken to Hôpital Le Gardeur in Repentigny, Que. - Dr. Chevrette was on call - He was unable to repair the damaged artery at Le Gardeur - He sent Nancy to Hôpital Ste-Justine, a children's hospital in Montreal - There was no blood transfusion - Information given to Ste-Justine was brief - Thirty min­utes after arrival at Ste-Justine, Nancy suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest - Oxygen flow to her brain stopped - Nancy became totally incapacitated - Her parents sued Dr. Chevrette - The action was dis­missed - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the trial judge's decision that Dr. Chevrette's conduct was the same as that of a reasonable and diligent doctor placed in the same circumstances - See para­graphs 1 to 14 and 34 to 78.

Québec: Responsabilité - Cote 3801

Médecins - Fondement de la responsabilité - [Voir Quebec Responsibility - Topic - 3801 ].

Cases Noticed:

Lapointe v. Hôpital Le Gardeur (1992), 133 N.R. 153 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 8].

Dorval v. Bouvier, [1968] S.C.R. 288, consd. [para. 15].

Kolesar Estate v. Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 491; 15 N.R. 302, consd. [para. 16].

Koziol - see Kolesar Estate v. Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.

Métivier v. Cadorette and Gourde, [1977] 1 S.C.R. 371; 8 N.R. 129, refd to. [para. 17].

Schreiber Brothers Ltd. v. Currie Products Ltd. and Gulf Oil Canada Ltd., [1980] 2 S.C.R. 78; 31 N.R. 335, refd to. [para. 18].

Lensen v. Lensen, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 672; 79 N.R. 334, refd to. [para. 19].

Laurentide Motels Ltd. et al. v. Beauport (City) et al., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 705; 94 N.R. 1; 23 Q.A.C. 1, consd. [para. 20].

Beaudoin-Daigneault v. Richard et al., [1984] 1 S.C.R. 2; 51 N.R. 288, consd. [para. 22].

Dorion v. Roberge et al., [1991] 1 S.C.R. 374; 124 N.R. 1; 39 Q.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 26].

Bolduc - see Dorion v. Roberge and others.

X. v. Mellen, [1957] B.R. 389, refd to. [para. 27].

Hôpital général de la Région de l'Amiante Inc. v. Perron, [1979] C.A. 567, consd. [para. 27].

Tremblay v. Claveau, [1990] R.R.A. 268 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 28].

Cloutier v. Centre hospitalier de l'Univer­sité Laval, [1990] R.J.Q. 717, refd to. [para. 28].

Mathieu v. Vigneault, [1991] R.J.Q. 1607; 39 Q.A.C. 223, refd to. [para. 28].

Martel v. Hôtel-Dieu St-Vallier, [1969] S.C.R. 745, refd to. [para. 30].

Nencioni v. Mailloux, [1985] R.L. 532, consd. [para. 32].

Statutes Noticed:

Civil Code of Lower Canada, art. 1053.

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bernardot, Alain and Robert P. Kouri, La responsabilité civile médicale 1980, p. 12 [para. 26].

Crépeau, P.-A., La responsabilité civile du médecin (1977), 8 R.D.U.S. 25, pp. 28- 29 [para. 25].

Nadeau, André, La responsabilité civile médicale (1946), 6 R. du B. 153, p. 157 [para. 31].

Counsel:

Paul D. Leblanc and Serge Gaudet, for the appellant;

Jean-Pierre Pilon and Yvan Major, for the respondents.

Solicitors of Record:

McCarthy, Tétrault & Ass., Montreal, Que., for the appellants;

Pilon, Lagacé & Ass., Montreal, Que., for the respondents.

This appeal was heard on October 3, 1991, by Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier and Cory, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The decision of the court was delivered in both official languages on February 13, 1992, by L'Heureux-Dubé, J.

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