Medical practitioners are among the most highly skilled professionals in Australia today. Not only do they perform a difficult job, but they also work in a stressful environment that regularly requires long hours.
One-fifth of the country’s junior doctors work every day of the week, according to an Australian Medical Association audit performed in 2011. One individual worked a 43-hour shift during the audit period.
It’s not difficult to see why some doctors make mistakes.
Patients who suffer substandard care due to negligence can pursue compensation through Queensland’s Personal Injury Proceedings Act 2002 and Civil Liability Act 2003.
But what is the biggest payout a patient has received in recent years?
Mother breaks confidentiality clause on $10m payout
Hospitals that settle medical negligence claims out of court usually require plaintiffs to sign a contract that prevents them from discussing the terms of the settlement.
Nevertheless, the mother of a man who was left in a “minimally conscious state” following treatment at two Queensland hospitals has revealed her son was awarded $10 million.
Daphnejean Finnegan announced the payout despite a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement, the Morning Bulletin reported last year.
“God knows how many compensation claims go through that the public never hear about. I am going to talk no matter what they put [in the contract],” she said.
While the details of the case were not published, an Ombudsman’s report into the incident found that Ms Finnegan’s son – Jamie-Thomas Carmelo Manuele – received “inadequate” care, resulting in a delayed diagnosis.
Other multimillion-dollar medical negligence claims
Mr Manuele’s medical negligence claim appears to be the biggest confirmed settlement to date, but Queensland hospitals have made a number of large compensation payments in recent years.
In 2011, the Courier-Mail reported that a young boy from Brisbane was awarded $6.44 million after developing cerebral palsy when he suffered a serious brain injury at birth.
The case surpassed the previous record of $5.5 million, which was set in 2006 when a Toowoomba boy also developed cerebral palsy after complications during his delivery. Another boy, whose brain was starved of oxygen for more than an hour while being born, received over $3.7 million in 2013.
The most extreme examples of medical negligence often have a devastating effect on the plaintiff and their family, with some patients losing their earning capacity and requiring lifelong care.
Compensation can provide crucial financial support in these cases, so contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for information on how to make a claim.