Bret (The Hitman) Hart sues Calgary doctor for $1M, alleging botched surgery

Former professional wrestler Bret (The Hitman) Hart has launched a $1-million lawsuit against a Calgary doctor claiming a botched surgery left him in severe pain and unable to dress himself, sign autographs or write books.

Former pro wrestler alleges botched wrist surgery and follow-up care left him in constant pain

Bret (Hitman) Hart is suing a Calgary surgeon alleging a botched wrist surgery has left him in pain and kept him from being able to perform everyday tasks. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Former professional wrestler Bret (The Hitman) Hart has launched a $1-million lawsuit against a Calgary doctor claiming a botched surgery left him in severe pain, and unable to dress himself, sign autographs or write books.

Hart says his wrist never properly healed after a November 2015 surgery aimed at correcting a 1981 injury that had limited his range of motion and caused pain.

None of the allegations made in a statement of claim filed in Calgary have been proven in court, and no statement of defence has been filed.

Hart has dealt with several health issues over the years, including suffering a stroke and beating prostate cancer. 

Earlier this year, Hart told CBC News his health battles have kept him fighting more outside the ring than he ever did as a wrestler. 

After 25 years of professional wrestling, a concussion led to Hart retiring in 2000. Since then he's worked as a writer, penning a book in 2007 about his life as a wrestler.

Hart consulted Calgary plastic surgeon Dr. Justin Yeung, who specializes in reconstructive hand surgery,  in 2015 about his 34-year-old wrist injury that was beginning to worsen.

According to the statement of claim, Yeung said surgery could repair the wrist and Hart would have no pain, his range of motion would improve and he would be able to get back to weight training, table hockey and bike riding after the procedure.

"Based on this advice, Mr. Hart agreed to undergo the surgery Dr. Yeung recommended," reads a section of the lawsuit.

Surgery fallout

Hart had the surgery on Nov. 23, 2015, but he told Yeung he still had no use of his index finger and thumb and that the pain continued to be severe in follow-up appointments in January, March, April and August in 2016.

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

The lawsuit alleges the defendants — Yeung and an unnamed doctor and nurse — were "negligent" and breached their duties of care. 

It claims that Hart should have been told the surgery could have resulted in permanent loss of the use of his thumb and finger, and that Yeung failed to provide adequate follow-up care.

Hart is now unable to participate in recreational and social activities, unable to properly dress himself or eat without assistance, sign autographs and can't work as a cartoonist, painter or book writer, according the document.

It also claims the former wrestler has suffered humiliation, the loss of his independence and earning capacity and has had to employ a personal assistant.

The defendants have 20 days to file statements of defence.


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at or follow her on Twitter.