16 Year Old NSW Client Receives $500,000 Settlement After Public Hospital’s Medically Negligent Delay In Operating
Published 29 Jan 2016
Our client, a 16-year old apprentice plumber at the time of the accident, sustained multiple injuries after a motorcycle accident. He was taken to the Emergency Department at this local public hospital with type V fracture dislocation in his right wrist and a displaced fracture of his right tibia (ie shin bone). Following initial assessment, our client was admitted under the care and supervision of the hospital's orthopaedic surgeon.
The doctor, whose responsibility it was to ensure our client received appropriate treatment widely accepted by rational peer opinion, instructed our client to rest in bed with his right lower limb elevated over the course of the next three days. This treatment was contraindicated by the subsequent post traumatic swelling of the right leg which had predisposed him to the risks of developing devastating compartment syndrome in the right leg. After three days of keeping his leg elevated, in accordance with the doctor's instructions, our client was finally scheduled to undergo surgery, namely open reduction and internal fixation of his tibial fracture whereby a compression plate and screws were inserted which effectively decompressed the anterior compartment of his right leg. However, it was only several hours after surgery where our client began exhibiting symptoms of compartment syndrome which progressed without definitive diagnosis until some 48 hours post operatively despite the hospital and orthopaedic surgeon being aware of our client’s increased risks.
Our client, who has suffered life-long and debilitating injuries, suspected the treatment he was provided by this public hospital was far below that standard which is accepted be rational peer opinion and approached Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate the suspected medical negligence. After opening the file on a no win no fee basis, Gerard Malouf & Partners obtained our client's relevant medical files and instructed one of our many orthopaedic experts to provide an opinion. Our expert doctor was able to correctly identify several instances where the hospital and the doctor were medically negligent, namely the conservative measures of management provided ineffective and there was no satisfactory explanation for the delay in proceeding with definitive surgical treatment of the right tibial fracture within 24 hours of admission. The delay in proceeding to surgery, in addition to raising our client's blood pressure in his leg, dramatically increased the risks of compartment syndrome and was medically negligent.
Despite secondary reconstructive surgery the hospital and doctor were both medically negligent but our young client is now forced to deal with deformity in his right foot, clawing of his toes, intramural fibrosis of the nerves, as well as sensory and motor deficits of his right foot and ankle which have also resulted in a limp. Our client's condition is unlikely to improve in the short or long term and has left him with a poor prognosis in regard to his future employment and ability to enjoy the activities of daily living involving the use of the right lower limb in full. Unfortunately for our client, medical negligence has left him with a life-long disability but settlement the medical negligence solicitors at Gerard Malouf & Partners were able to mediate a $500,000 settlement, without having to incur additional costs of a lengthy and costly trial, and the monies will go a long way in helping this young man regain some semblance of normal life.
If you think you have been the victim of medical negligence, please contact the negligence experts at GMP for a free consultation and explanation of our no win no fee policy.