Plaintiff ordered to pay defendants' costs over sufficient evidence

Date:Jul 11, 2019

Here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we deal with a wide range of medical negligence cases that range from errors on the operating table to pharmaceutical malpractice. As the below case shows, medical negligence can also occur after an accident has taken place and when a patient receives follow-up treatment. But did the court find the defendant guilty of medical malpractice?

Background of the accident

On September 19, 2010, the plaintiff was feeding her horses as usual. As she was giving hay to one horse, she noticed that his biscuits weren't near enough to him. She crouched down and pushed the food towards the horse. At this time, another horse approached the gate. This arrival spooked the first horse which led him to bite the plaintiff's right arm which was reaching through the gate. 

The woman claimed the horse was pulling her arm up and back towards him which caused her shoulder to dislocate. 

Following the accident, the plaintiff was taken by ambulance to Hawkesbury Hospital. 

What did the plaintiff claim?

The plaintiff sought damages for injuries she sustained to her right shoulder, as a result of the alleged medical negligence of the defendants (the hospital and the plaintiff's former treating general practitioner). 

She claimed the defendants breached their duty of care by failing to:

• Issue a referral for an ultrasound of her shoulder.
• Advise the plaintiff on follow-up treatment. 
• Undertake appropriate clinical testing for her shoulder. 

As a result of their medical negligence, the plaintiff alleged that her shoulder is now seriously and permanently disabled.

What did the defendant claim?

Both defendants denied that any of their conduct caused harm to the plaintiff and that they both acted in a way that was widely accepted in Australia for practitioners in their position.

What did the court decide? 

Throughout the hearing, the court found that the plaintiff was a difficult witness. At times, she was found to embellish the truth and said the practitioner had instructed her to perform various exercises which made her arm worse. The court learned the medical professional had never told her to do such exercises. 

After hearing an extensive amount of medical evidence concerning the defendant's behaviour when treating and advising the patient, the court felt satisfied that the defendants had acted in an appropriate manner.

As a result, the plaintiff was ordered to pay the defendants' costs of proceedings.

When going up a defendant in court over medical negligence matters, you must be prepared with sufficient evidence and the help of a specialist legal team. For more information on how Gerard Malouf & Partners can help you with a claim, get in touch with us today. 

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