Whether specialising in orthodontics or pharmaceuticals, any professional who practises medicine in some form or another can be found guilty of medical negligence. In the below case, a man who was a practising ear, nose and throat surgeon faced a range of complaints from the Health Care Complaints Commission representing a number of patients who had been treated by the man.
What did the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) seek?
The HCCC (the applicant) sought orders to enforce conditions on the practitioner’s medical registration, mainly those relating to suspension or cancellation.
These orders came on the back of 12 individual complaints made against the practitioner (the respondent).
What did the complaints detail?
While there were 12 complaints, for this summary, we’re focusing solely on Complaint One to give an overall idea of the nature of the medical malpractice.
The patient involved in this complaint was diagnosed with meningitis in 2007 at around 15 months of age. As a result, she sustained hearing loss in her right ear.
On February 7, 2008, the patient’s general practitioner referred her to the respondent for an opinion and management of her right-sided ‘glue ear’. This is a condition where the Eustachian tube becomes blocked with mucus.
The respondent provided care and treatment to the patient between March 2008 and June 2013.
Following the patient’s initial consultation with the respondent, it was alleged that the practitioner failed to address the:
- Probability of sensorineural hearing loss in the patient’s right ear.
- Importance of keeping the left ear safe.
- Risks of surgery on the left ear.
The particulars of the complaint were proved as the court felt that the practitioner failed to consider the profound sensorineural hearing loss of the patient’s right ear. Had he done so, he could have prevented further damage to the girl’s only good hearing ear.
Along with complaint one, the medical practitioner was found guilty of medical malpractice on another 10 counts.
As such, the proceedings were adjourned to give the court time to consider relevant protective orders.
If you feel that a medical practitioner has breached their duty of care to you, it’s important to speak to a specialist lawyer to discover your options. For more information, get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners.