9 Year Old Kiah Girl Receives $200,000 From Public Hospital Due to Medical Negligence and Delay In Treating Peritonitis

Published 22 Mar 2016

Our client, a 9 year old child from Kiah, presented to the nearest public hospital’s emergency department at about noon complaining of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The pain, which had started the night before, was excruciating to where the child was guarding against any touching of her abdomen and was experiencing a tremendous amount of distress. This public hospital admitted her for monitoring and reviewed her situation every couple of hours and continuously noted her complaints about vomiting and the abdominal pain being “10 out of 10”.

The following morning, whilst still under the care and supervision of this public hospital, the child was still complaining of sharp pains in her lower abdomen and her moth instructed the doctors that she hadn’t had a bowel movement in nearly three days. Throughout the morning, the pain was intensifying and “any attempt to touch (the) abdomen results in pain”. Finally, after numerous complaints from the child’s mother about how no one was listening to her or her daughter’s complaints, a transfer to a different regional hospital was arranged. Clearly recognizing the urgency of the situation and child’s clinical presentation, within the first hour or so of arrival at the 2nd Hospital, the child was taken to the operating theatre for a diagnostic laparoscopy where the child was diagnosed peritonitis which resulted in a portion of her small bowel becoming necrotic and thus requiring a resection to save her digestive tract.

Suspicious her daughter may have been the victim of the public hospital’s medical negligence, the child’s mother contacted the Personal Injury professionals at Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate. After obtaining the relevant clinical notes from the hospital, the team of Medical Negligence solicitors instructed an Emergency Room physician to provide an expert opinion on the treatment and car provided. Sure enough, the mother’s suspicions were confirmed when the good doctor furnished a report identifying precisely where the public hospital’s treatment and care fell below a standard that is acceptable by peer rational opinion. The presence of abdominal guarding, especially when combined with nausea and vomiting, is diagnostic of peritonitis which required urgent surgical assessment and intervention by a surgeon. In this particular case, the public hospital’s failure to surgically assess and intervene resulted in a delay of approximately 24 hours which caused a large proportion of her small bowel to die and necessitating its removal.

Armed with the aforementioned expert opinion, and operating on a no win no fee basis, medical negligence proceedings were commenced by Gerard Malouf & Partners against the public hospital for the child’s loss of a portion of her small bowel resulting in perpetual diarrhea and the potential for dietary and nutritional deficiencies. After extensive discovery (ie exchange of information) the experienced and knowledgeable Medical Negligence solicitors with Gerard Malouf & Partners were able to negotiate a $200,000 plus costs settlement for the young child. These monies will be placed in a trust for the benefit of the child, receivable on her 18th birthday.

Should you feel that you have been a victim of medical negligence because a Doctor or Hospital failed to provide you or a loved one with adequate care, please contact one of the expert solicitors at Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate your potential claim for medical negligence on a no win, no fee basis.