Halifax hospital donnybrook: Appeal court reduces cardiologist's damages

A court has dramatically reduced a cardiology researcher's record-setting, $1.4 million judgment for damages from a workplace battle at a Halifax hospital.

In a decision released Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal reduced Dr. Gabrielle Horne's damages to $800,000.

It said the lower figure better represents the "loss of reputation and loss to her research career" after a personality conflict torpedoed her heart research.

Horne was researching "the mechanical differences in the hearts of patients who have stable and unstable heart muscle problems" at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

But her relationship with the director of the hospital's Heart Function Clinic was "strained," and he successfully pushed to have her privileges varied to restrict her access to the clinic's patients, the appeal court said. 

A medical advisory committee found her "poor interpersonal relationships with some colleagues could indeed expose patients to harm."

As a result, she couldn't conduct her research and the entire research program folded.