There has been a recent onslaught of cases involving incorrect chemotherapy treatment of cancer patients at a Sydney hospital and by one particular doctor. The main question now is whether the doctor and the hospital are guilty of medical negligence and if they could have prevented it.
Many cancer patients have been under-dosed
ABC News reports that the the Government wants to look into the treatment of cancer patients over the last five years at a public Sydney hospital. Just one doctor is alleged to have mistreated over 100 patients by under-dosing them.
The hospital director of cancer services is also under investigation because he continued to refer new patients to that doctor for several months even after it was revealed that the doctor had been under-dosing. The director defended his actions, saying that the doctor had been told to change his behaviour.
Still, many questions remain. How long did the Government know about the doctor’s bad treatment? And if they did know, why was there a delay in notifying NSW Health Ministry of the problems of under-dosing? Lastly, why were the affected patients not informed of their mistreatment earlier?
Walt Secord, an opposition health spokesman, said that the record shows that “New South Wales Health knew much earlier about the issue than everyone was led to believe”.
It is fair to say it will take a while to uncover whether both the doctor and the hospital were negligent.
Did the doctor fall below acceptable standards?
Sometimes mistakes are unavoidable when it comes to medical treatments. However, The Legal Services Commission says that it is doctor negligence when a health care professional falls below an acceptable standard for taking reasonable care to ensure the safety and well-being of their patients.
In this case, the doctor had been warned of his under-dosing but was not prevented from continuing to under-dose. The court may rule that the hospital should have monitored the doctor more effectively and ensured that he was treating patients in a manner appropriate for standards set by peer group of medical specialists of a similar background.
Gerard Malouf and Partners have lawyers who specifically deal with medical negligence. If you think you may have a medical negligence case on your hands, please do call for a free appointment and we’ll guide you on how best to proceed.