This matter involved a Western Sydney lady (the Plaintiff) whose daughter passed away in 2012 due to a failure to diagnose appendicitis and to treat it, which led to the infection of the ventricular-peritoneal shunt (a medical device that relieves pressure on the brain caused by fluid accumulation).
In early February 2012, the plaintiff’s daughter, 21 years old, had a medical history of cerebral palsy as well as hydrocephalus (fluid accumulation in the brain) which was treated by said shunt.
She presented to a major hospital suffering from 3 days of abdominal pain, pain with movement, vomiting, fever, tenderness in the right iliac fossa and elevated white blood cell count. This was a typical presentation for appendicitis and the doctors of the hospital correctly diagnosed this.
She was transferred to a major north western Sydney hospital (the Defendant Hospital) for surgical assessment. However, following the transfer, her abdominal pain improved and she was wrongly discharged the next day without a diagnosis and without any further investigations.
Had a CT scan been done, it is likely on the balance of probabilities that a diagnosis of appendicitis could be found, thus leading to an appendectomy that day or the next at the major western Sydney Hospital. Furthermore, had the appendectomy been done, the appendiceal abscess would not have caused the destruction of the Deceased’s shunt, and she would have likely survived.
Almost a month after discharge, the deceased’s GP suspected intra-abdominal pathology and ordered an ultrasound, which confirmed appendiceal abscess. The GP arranged for an urgent admission to another hospital.
Despite the best efforts of this hospital, the failure of the Defendant Hospital to diagnose and manage the Deceased’s appendicitis resulted in the Deceased developing appendiceal abscess which caused the obstruction of her shunt and eventual death.
Words could not adequately describe the pain this put the Plaintiff through. Our specialist medical negligence team sought the expert opinion of an expert Emergency Medicine Specialist, where it was shown that the Defendant Hospital failed to properly diagnose and treat the appendicitis. Following receipt of this evidence, our team also sought the report of an expert psychologist to assess the amount of loss that was experienced by the Plaintiff.
The hospital had their own expert reports on the matter and after vigorous negotiations, we negotiated and settled for the hospital to compensate our client $150,000.00 due to the hospital’s negligence.
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