Failure to spot tumour leads to compensation

Date: Apr 27, 2016

As most Australians know, people make mistakes. However, the errors of some can have much more serious effects on people than the mistakes of others. Those caused by medical negligence are one such example.

It is essential to talk to a compensation lawyer, as not all healthcare errors are classified as medical malpractice. For doctor negligence to be proven there must be both an error and a certain level of harm.

A recent case in front of the District Court of New South Wales is a clear example of where these two factors come together to form a model medical negligence case.

Missed tumour leads to damages

Back in 2004, the plaintiff was admitted to the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital with severe abdominal pains. The hospital conducted CT scans that showed inflammation of the abdominal cavity, and as a result, the plaintiff was treated for pancreatitis. However, the scans also showed an abnormality in proximity to the left kidney, yet, the radiologist’s report did not make any mention of this.

In 2007 and 2008, the plaintiff was referred for an ultrasound and CT scan to investigate a urinary tract symptoms. These medical procedures identified a larger abnormality in the same kidney region.

After further tests, the abnormality turned out to be a nephroblastoma, or, as it is colloquially known, a Wilm’s tumour. In response, the plaintiff had her kidney removed through surgery during her chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

The plaintiff claims the district health board was negligent as it failed to identify and report the renal mass that was picked up by the CT scans.The plaintiff argues that because of this oversight and the delay in treatment, she suffered unnecessary pain stemming from both psychiatric and physical injuries.

The court decided in favour of the plaintiff, awarding her close to $610,000. The majority of these stemmed from non-economic loss ($136,500), future income loss and superannuation ($250,000).

Would another medical professional have reported it?

The evidence presented to the court showed that in most probability the professional did see the renal mass on the CT scans. The judge argued that because of the wide range of non-invasive and relatively simple procedures available at the time, it would have been relativity easy to discover the nature of the abnormality. As such, the court found that this should have been reported for further investigation.

If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced compensation lawyer. Contact Gerard Malouf and Partners today to find out more.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.