Cassidy Edigers bedroom in her Chilliwack home is filled with flower-shaped lights, and the walls are painted blue.
Same colour as a Tiffany box, said her mom, Carolyn Ediger. When we head home, she starts to laugh and giggle. Its like heaven to her its where she wants to be.
The Ediger familys 12-year-long fight for justice after their daughter Cassidy was left with severe brain damage due to a botched delivery has finally come to a close.
Cassidy, now 15, lives with spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy. She and her family will be awarded $3.2 million in damages after the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously restored a decision this month against obstetrician and gynecologist William G. Johnston for breaching the standard of care during her birth in 1998.
The initial 2009 trial decision found he had failed to ensure a backup surgical staff was readily available to help deliver the child by caesarean section when a forceps procedure failed.
Johnston successfully appealed that decision in 2011, before the family pushed to have the case heard in Canadas top court.
Were really overjoyed and just completely overwhelmed, said Ediger, who launched the court action in 2008 on behalf of her daughter, and had even begun discussing legal action when Cassidy was only three.
Its a huge burden lifted off our shoulders and its just complete peace of mind, knowing well be able to provide for her (financially) for the rest of her life.
In January 1998, Johnston induced labour early at 38 weeks after determining Edigers pregnancy was high risk. After running into complications part way through the delivery, he decided to switch to a caesarean procedure instead, and left the room to make arrangements.
In the 18 minutes before the baby was resuscitated, the childs umbilical cord became compressed and her heart slowed enough to halt oxygen to her brain, leaving her with permanent brain damage.
Today, Cassidy is non-verbal, tube-fed, confined to a wheelchair and must rely on others for her daily needs. Court justices heard evidence that those in Cassidys condition have a life expectancy of only 38 years, and shell never be able to live independently.
Even with all the challenges, Ediger said there are countless moments with Cassidy that make the long battle worth it.
As much as its a lot of work to take care of her, she is a joy to have in our home and we know that she loves being around her family, Ediger said, noting the $3.2 million means the family can continue to care for Cassidy at home instead of ever having to rely on a hospital or facility. It means the world to us.
The damages awarded by the trial judge include $2 million for Cassidys ongoing care and renovations to the family home to accommodate her, and nearly $600,000 for the loss of future earnings.
Cross-appeals about the amount of damages were referred back to the B.C. Appeal Court for consideration.
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