Man pursues medical negligence claim after hip operation

Date: Nov 23, 2017

A man who suffered serious bodily injuries following a hip operation is pursuing a medical negligence claim against the health service and surgeons involved in his treatment.

The operation was performed on March 25 2014, but it quickly became obvious that the procedure was unsuccessful. Supreme Court documents reveal the plaintiff’s sciatic nerve was lacerated during the surgery, leading to “serious complications”.

The three defendants in the case are the two surgeons who performed the operation, as well as the health service that runs the hospital where the surgery proceeded.

Plaintiff continues to gather evidence

Medical negligence cases are a complex area of personal injury law, requiring clear proof that practitioners have breached their duty of care to a patient and that this contravention led to the losses for which the plaintiff is claiming.

This particular case has not reached the hearing stage, which is where the judge decides whether or not the claim has been successful. Instead, the plaintiff has requested that the courts force the third defendant – the health service – to release evidence in order to build his case.

The man hopes to gain access to the first defendant’s records of employment and information on his experience, skills and training for the entirety of the period he was employed with the hospital where the surgery was performed.

The first defendant is the junior doctor that performed the operation on the plaintiff, while the second defendant – a more experienced professional – supervised the procedure.

Why has a dispute arisen?

When pursuing a medical negligence case, the plaintiff must file a Statement of Claim, which outlines their complaints against the defendant/s.

The man in this case accused his practitioners of several negligent incidents, including failures to:

  • Adequately warn the plaintiff about surgery risks;
  • Protect the man’s sciatic nerve during the operation;
  • Perform the correct surgery for this particular hip problem; and
  • Carry out due care and diligence regarding the operation.

However, the health service refused to hand over details of the first defendant’s employment, claiming that the plaintiff had not called the doctor’s overall abilities into question in the original Statement of Claim.

There was also no mention of negligence regarding the second defendant’s failure to sufficiently supervise the first defendant properly during the surgery – an issue the plaintiff later believed to be important.

The first defendant was a junior doctor that had only been with the hospital for nine months as part of an overseas graduate scheme to gain more experience.

What did the judge decide?

The judge approved the plaintiff’s request to file an amended Statement of Claim to include further allegations of negligence.

The additional particulars included that the plaintiff had not been adequately informed that the second defendant would not be performing the surgery. He also alleged that the first defendant didn’t have the appropriate skills to carry out the procedure.

Furthermore, the judge ordered the health service to release documents regarding the first defendant’s employment, qualifications, skills and experience.

This case highlights the importance of having an experienced legal team behind you who can gather evidence on your behalf to ensure you go into any court hearing with the strongest claim possible.

Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for more information on making a claim.

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