A man from Coffs Harbor has filed a lawsuit against a Sydney hospital hoping to collect compensation for years of disabilities he says were caused by poorly performed surgeries when he was younger.
According to the Coffs Coast Advocate, 25-year-old Robert Klewer filed the suit against the Sydney Children's Hospital, where he underwent several brain surgeries over the course of a few years in the 1990s.
Doctors performed the first surgery on him was he was only four years old. As a child, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that sent him to the Coffs District Hospital after it caused partial paralysis in his limbs.
Despite three separate surgeries, the doctors did not remove the tumor. More than 20 years later, Mr Klewer has now taken his case to the New South Wales Supreme Court, claiming that the doctors who performed the surgeries were negligent in causing his current condition.
In the complaint, Mr Klewer's medical negligence lawyers wrote that he is plagued by a condition called foot drop, which affects the entire right side of his body, and brings about symptoms similar to a stroke. This includes poor vision and partial paralysis.
The Mayo Clinic explains that the condition itself isn't a disease, but is brought on by any one of several neurological, muscular or anatomical issues. The condition can be permanent or temporary, and can force the person suffering from it to wear devices to brace the leg up.
Help from the family
Mr Klewer's complaint stated that the condition has also affected how well he can think and learn, which prompted his brother to take him on as a student. The brother, Ryan Klewer, was also responsible for filing the initial lawsuit.
The Mayo Clinic's definition of foot drop played a large role in the court case, as the bulk of the investigation centered on what the exact causes of his condition were.
The hearings are currently underway, and Justice Christine Adamson has stated that the largest focus will be placed on whether there was a pre-existing condition caused by the brain surgeries that led to the footdrop, or a problem that occurred later in life.
Mr Klewer isn't alone in his decision to file a complaint. Around the country, 50,000 people suffer from a permanent injury directly caused by medical negligence every year.
If you or a loved one may have been a victim of medical negligence, it may be in your best interest to speak with an expert.