Hospital investigations aren’t ending medical negligence claims, government says

Date: Nov 06, 2013

The Australian government recently stated that hospital investigations are not enough to protect patients from further medical negligence on the part of physicians.

The announcement came around the same time the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service announced it would be conducting a review of Gympie hospital after claims the facility failed to treat a six-year-old boy.

According to ABC, this recent investigation started after the boy reportedly suffered from serious internal bleeding after a motorcycle accident that occurred in early October. Gympie MP David Gibson said the boy's serious injuries should have been detected by medical officials at the facility much sooner than they were.

The boy was first treated at Gympie hospital, but doctors in Nambour stabilised him, and he was then sent to a medical facility in Brisbane. This string of events has made it difficult to establish a chain of responsibility, Health Service CEO Kevin Hegarty said.

Mr Hegarty explained that the responsibility should fall on the treating medical officer who was working in the Emergency Department, who is also tasked with directing where the boy should have received the best care given his condition.

Not enough to ward off medical negligence

This is just one instance of alleged neglect among Australia's hospitals. One famous case occurred in Sydney in 2010, when a woman alleged her 89-year-old mother went unattended for six hours.

She claims she stayed on a single trolley for the entire period, and when she asked to go to the toilet, officials told her to go in her clothes.

In the incident, then-NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the hospital was performing an investigation, similar to the recent one in Gympie, however not everyone has agreed this is the best course of action.

"If the Minister was serious about finding out what was going on she would have taken the five minute drive to St Vincent's yesterday to speak to the staff on the ground," said Andrew McDonald, a spokesman for the Opposition government.

In these cases, patients can file medical negligence claims that can result in compensation for any medical costs, pain and suffering and other expenditures related to the incident. To file a claim, you'll need to get in touch with medical negligence lawyers who have years of experience dealing in these matters.

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