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Supreme Court sides with two doctors in Quebec malpractice case

The Supreme Court of Canada is pictured in Ottawa on June 8, 2016.

Blair Gable/The Globe and Mail

The Supreme Court of Canada has sided with two doctors in a Quebec malpractice case, overturning an appeal court finding against them.

The case deals with the death of Marc Edmond, a healthy non-smoker who nevertheless was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2007 and died in June 2008.

His partner, Cathie St-Germain, won a $70,000 judgment after she sued Dr. Albert Benhaim and Dr. Michael O'Donovan, saying they were negligent in delaying the cancer diagnosis after finding a shadow on an X-ray in late 2005.

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The trial judge agreed there was negligence in not exploring the X-ray shadow earlier, but relied on expert testimony to conclude that the illness was so advanced even at that stage that the negligence did not contribute to Edmond's death.

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned that finding, saying the trial judge erred by not linking the negligence to the death and awarded $1.7 million to St-Germain and her son.

In a 4-3 split decision, the Supreme Court said the appeal court was wrong and should not have interfered with the original finding.

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