New England Man Claims Against Doctor for Over $80,000 Following Medically Induced Development of Diabetes

Published 12 Jun 2017

This case involves a middle age man residing in a small country town in NSW. This is a complex case that required negotiation to achieve settlement but fortunately obtained beneficial result for this man following a failure by his general practitioners to appropriately monitor the medication he was provided and to also appropriately diagnose his condition.

In mid-2014, this plaintiff presented to his general practitioners complaining of joint and muscle pain with a background of prior Hepatitis.

These complaints continued a further 10 days down the track where his general practitioner prescribed him with prednisone (a steroid) without specialist referral at a rate of 50 milligrams per day.

The following month, the plaintiff represented complaining of the same issues. His general practitioner diagnosed him with an auto immune disease and continued his prescription on prednisone.  This all occurred without any consultation of a specialist as to the cause of his complaints and to the appropriateness of the prescription.

This process continued through to the following year where the Plaintiff was kept on prednisone despite varying diagnoses of arthritis, sleep apnoea and auto immune diseases. At no stage was any specialist contacted nor any treatment plan instated with review from a specialist.

At some stage during this ordeal, the plaintiff developed diabetes and this was noted by one of the general practitioners as likely induced by the steroids he was being provided. 

Obviously aggrieved by the development of his illness, following the treatment recommended by his trusted general practitioners, this man consulted with Gerard Malouf and Partners where Mr Leslie Abboud, an experience medical negligence litigator with over 30 years of practice in this area took carriage of his matter. In taking carriage of this matter, Mr Abboud immediately noticed what the Plaintiff himself had and that was the semi unsubstantiated nature of the continuing diagnosis of his general practitioners in conjunction with the prescription for medication that occurred without any specialist referral and without a seemingly solid diagnosis.

Mr Abboud, on this basis, briefed an expert general practitioner to comment on the treatment and care provided to the Plaintiff. Doing so it was established that the defendants care and management of the Plaintiff resulted in his over consumption of prednisone and result in development of diabetes. It was shown that his man did not receive a diagnosis but was nonetheless prescribed moderately a high dose of steroid over a prolonged period, which is most likely caused this injury.

Furthermore, it is commented that this diagnosis and treatment was inappropriate and should have been subjected to specialist review beforehand rather than proceeding on a vague non diagnosis or if at best the general practitioners thought it was appropriate to peruse this cause of action to pursue it very cautiously with much smaller dosage of steroid treatment. An Rheumatologist was briefed and he too was  critical of the non-diagnosis and critical of the use of prednisone for 3months in an obese man who already carried risks of developing diabetes. This specialist suggested that this treatment should have never been commenced without a firm diagnosis being reached by a rheumatologist or another similar specialist.

Armed with this evidence, Mr Abboud proceeded to litigate this man’s claim to hopefully receive beneficial compensation for him. In doing so, Mr Abboud and his team briefed an expert barrister and obtained further evidence as the accent of damage suffered by our client.

In this case, evidence was served by the Defendant which suggested that the Plaintiff had a genetic pre-disposition to the development of diabetes and that despite the obvious negligence of the Defendants, the development of diabetes would have occurred respective of him being place on steroids. In our view, this approach ignored the obvious failure of the defendant and sort to rebut any claim to compensation on the basis that because this man was over weight in the past, he was likely to develop diabetes despite the obvious contemporaneous development of diabetes following the treatment provided by the Defendants.  Nonetheless, consideration had to be add to these valid points and Mr Abboud sought to carefully negotiate the matter acknowledging the risks faced by both parties in progressing to a hearing where the outcome could potentially go either way.

On this basis a mediation was organised and the matter resolved for over $80,000. Given the state of the evidence this result was very good for the Plaintiff and we hope that his compensation assists in continuing his life in the most normal way fashion following his diagnosis.

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