55-Year-Old Gunnedah Woman Receives SignificantCompensation for Nervous Shock after Hospital’s Medical Negligence

Published 11 Apr 2016

Our client, a 55-year-old woman from an area just south of Gunnedah, in the Liverpool agricultural region, grew up in a very tight knit family and was extremely close to her 72-year-old mother. The mother, with a medical history atypical of a woman in her early seventies, had been previously diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm in 2011 and had been managed properly for the years following by a vascular surgeon. In mid-July 2014, the mother presented to the emergency department of her local public hospital with abdominal pain. Her history of abdominal aortic aneurysm was well documented in her medical history, so the doctors arranged for upper abdominal ultrasound to rule out any abnormalities, which they did, and she was discharged the following day.

Some two to three months later, the mother again presented to the emergency department for right sided abdominal pain radiating to her back and again, her history of abdominal aortic aneurysm was noted. She was transferred to another hospital who, again, recognized the existence of the abdominal aortic aneurysm as well as multiple right sided kidney stones, and she was transferred back where she spent the next two days at her local public hospital being treated for kidney stones. After the mother was discharged home with the assumption her kidneys stones were the cause of the pain, sadly, less than fifteen minutes after arriving back at home with her daughter, the abdominal aortic aneurysm had ruptured and a horrific and traumatic death occurred in the daughter's presence.

Needless to say, our client, the daughter, was deeply affected by this horrific experience in witnessing her mother's passing, could sense something was wrong with the way this hospital had treated her mother but wasn't sure what to do next. The daughter contacted the expert medical negligence solicitors at Gerard Malouf & Partners for help and answers as to whether the hospital was negligent for discharging her mother without further investigation or intervention. 

The medical negligence solicitors embarked on their investigations by, first, obtaining the relevant clinical notes and documentation and examining them thoroughly. After identifying all the materials facts of the matter, an expert emergency room physician was instructed to explain what this public hospital did wrong. In his expert report, the doctor explained that most abdominal aortic aneurysms leak into the tissues around the aorta for days, if not weeks, before they rupture and the public hospital, well aware of abdominal aortic aneurysm, should have monitored the aorta more closely and investigated for possible leakage. The hospital was medically negligent for their failure to investigate the pain further as well as incorrectly diagnosing kidney stones as the cause of the mother's pain, especially when stones only cause pain once they pass into the collecting system and obstruct the renal pelvis or ureter yet, here, the stones were still in the kidneys and usually do not cause pain. Had the hospital arranged for an urgent CT, it would have confirmed the leaking aneurysm and allowed for surgical repair which, on the balance of probabilities, could have saved the life of our client's mother. 

Armed with the expert opinion of our world renowned and well-respected physician's report, proceedings were commenced against the hospital in the District Court of New South Wales for the psychological injury (i.e. Nervous Shock) suffered by the daughter for witnessing the horrific and untimely passing of her beloved mother. After months of discovery (i.e. fancy word for the exchange of information), the defendant realized their backs were against the wall and were quick to come to the negotiation table. Based on her explicit instructions, and in the best interests of our client, to avoid the long and often times stressful experience of proceeding with and conducting a trial, parties agreed to negotiate. A settlement was reached amicably and our client was happy to sign off on compensation that would clear her approximately $90,000 after all costs, disbursements, and court and legal fees were paid. Our client would be the first to tell you this was the right decision to make and now she can finally put this traumatic ordeal behind her and remember her mother the way she was and not because of the medical negligence she passed away from

If you or anyone you know feels they are the victim of medical negligence, contact one of the expert medical negligence solicitors at Gerard Malouf & Partners today to get the compensation and closure you deserve.