BC Court of Appeals Upholds Malpractice Suit, but Shaves Off Damages Citing Gender Income Disparity

The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a malpractice suit against a Surrey doctor and nurse for negligence, but shaved $140,000 off the $1,586,000 in damages citing the income disparity between men and women.

Justice Kenneth MacKenzie found that the previous judge had not sufficiently taken into account the disparity in pay between men and women when he determined the damages for loss of future income.

"It was wholly erroneous for him to conclude on the dearth of evidence before him that the 40 per cent present gap will be almost entirely eliminated and that female earnings will rise to currently projected male earnings," MacKenzie said.

Otherwise, the verdict was upheld, with justices Harvey Groberman and Daphne Smith concurring.

Mirella suffers severe cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation attributed to a separation of the placenta from the uterus before birth.

The court found that the negligence of both the doctor and the nurse caused Mirella's injury, and put 60 percent of the liability to the doctor and 40 percent of the liability to the nurse and her employer, the Fraser Health Authority.

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