Family sues for medical negligence three years after teen’s suicide

Date: May 13, 2020

The family of a university student who took her own life in August 2017 is suing both doctors and the Northern Territory Government for medical negligence due to an alleged misdiagnosis and improper treatment for mental health.

The teen, Sabrina Di Lembo, took her own life at just 19 years old as a result of anxiety stemming from university assessments, according to ABC News. The suit alleges both the NT Government's Top End Mental Health Service and the doctors were negligent in providing reasonable treatment for Di Lembo based on her diagnosis.

She sought medical help for her mental health issues more than a dozen times, mentioning suicidal thoughts at least once, the filing says. The NT Government is named in the suit because it oversaw the provider from which Di Lembo sought medical care.

Issues with treatment?

The suit further claims that Di Lembo's psychiatric care was not sufficient based on the issues she described, including putting together an improper plan of care and initially giving a prescription at half the typical dose. This likely resulted in Di Lembo experiencing many of the side effects of the drug but few of the benefits, as Mirage News noted. However, the source also pointed out that Di Lembo had ceased taking her prescribed anti-depressant before her suicide.

The family believes Di Lembo "fell through the cracks" of the treatment system, because the general practitioners named in the suit did not do a good enough job of identifying and treating her mental illness. It is alleged she was never referred to a psychiatrist who would have been more qualified to properly treat her issues.

Potential issues

The suit was filed during the week Di Lembo would have turned 22, and about 18 months after a coronal inquest found the GPs did not compile a detailed medical history or use proper measures to note and assess her issues.

If you believe that you or someone you know may be eligible for damages as a result of medical negligence, get in touch with the legal experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners today. We can walk you through all your options during a free consultation and 90-day trial period – and with our No Win No Fee program, you may be able to proceed through the case at little to no financial risk.

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