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Langley doctor loses appeal over negligent care

Patient also lost appeal that claimed other forms of negligence
Langley Memorial Hospital. (Langley Advance Times files)

A doctor who once practiced at Langley Memorial Hospital has lost an appeal in a case of professional negligence.

Leona Belknap was 68 when she fell in her home in the fall of 2014 and fractured her hip, and was taken to Langley Memorial by ambulance.

She underwent surgery by Dr. Tracy Eugene Hicks the following day. The fractured hip was repaired with three screws.

However, according to the judgement in the original trial, Belknap was in continued pain for more than a year after the surgery, and X-rays revealed the screws were working their way out of the bone. In November of 2016, Belknap received a full hip replacement from another doctor.

The trial judge found that Hicks was negligent for his post-operative care, and that his lack of sufficient follow-up caused or contributed to Belknap’s injuries, and to the lengthy delay before she received her hip replacement surgery.

The trial awarded Belknap $10,000 in special damages, and $45,000 in non-pecuniary damages.

However, the judge ruled that aggravated damages were not warranted, and nor were any damages for the costs of future care for Belknap, who had a number of other medical issues before she injured her hip. The original ruling found that Hicks’s actual surgery had been within the bounds of reasonable treatment.

The appeal hearing saw both Belknap and Hicks appeal the original judge’s ruling, with Belknap again claiming that Hicks had also been negligent in the original surgery and that he had failed to get informed consent from her, while Hicks appealed the ruling that his post-surgical care had been negligent.

The three-judge Court of Appeal panel, headed by Judge Christopher Grauer, found no issues with the original judge’s ruling on any of the three claims, and dismissed appeals by both Hicks and Belknap.

That leaves the $55,000 in damages owed to Belknap in place.

READ ALSO: Poor treatment of childhood injury leads to $175,000 court award in Langley case

READ ALSO: Nelson snowbank injury case heard in Supreme Court of Canada

Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered Hicks to pay $175,000 for negligent treatment of a child’s broken arm in 2006.

Hicks had set Maxwell McKee’s broken arm when the child was five. It healed badly, leaving McKee with some life-long effects.

In 1993, Sandra Bryan won $374,000 in a lawsuit against Hicks, Langley Memorial Hospital, and two others after she lost much of the use of one hand following a wrist surgery performed by Hicks.

Hicks appealed the amount of damages in 1995, but the BC Court of Appeal ruled against him.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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