Wrestler Bret Hart grappling with plastic surgeon over hand surgery

By The Canadian Press
December 6, 2017 - 11:45am

CALGARY — Bret Hart has won numerous bouts over his professional wrestling career but now he's entering the legal ring in a lawsuit against a Calgary plastic surgeon.

The legendary grappler, known as "The Hitman," has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Justin Yeung, alleging he has lost the use of his right index finger and thumb after wrist surgery in 2015.

A statement of claim filed Nov. 21 says Hart is unable to use his right hand to pick up and use objects including pens and utensils. He is also unable to properly dress himself without assistance, the document claims.

A statement of defence has not been filed and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

The statement of claim says Hart injured his wrist during a match in 1981 when he chipped his scaphoid. The injury gradually worsened and Hart visited Yeung in September 2015.

"Dr. Yeung advised Mr. Hart that he could perform surgery to repair his right wrist by a partial fusion of the wrist bones," the statement says.

It says Yeung advised Hart would have no pain in his wrist and movement would be restored after recovering from the surgery.

The surgery was performed in November 2015. The claim says at a check-up in January 2016, Hart told Yeung he had severe pain in his wrist and "his right thumb and index finger did not function."

The problem persisted until a follow-up visit in March.

"Mr. Hart's complaints were ignored," reads the statement.

Hart says he has suffered a number of injuries including "severe and ongoing pain" in his right wrist, thumb and index finger and a decreased range of motion.

The lawsuit alleges the defendant was negligent and failed to advise Hart of the risks involved. Hart is seeking general damages of $1 million.

Hart, who is now 60, was born into a legendary wrestling family led by his father Stu Hart, founder of Calgary's Stampede Wrestling.

Bret Hart made his in-ring debut in 1978 and took part in nearly 3,000 matches before his retirement.

He gained popularity and championship success throughout the 1980s and 1990s in the World Wrestling Federation, where he was part of the Hart Foundation.

He has had serious health issues before, including a significant stroke in 2002 that left him partially paralyzed. He recovered successfully and also underwent surgery for prostate cancer.

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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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