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A Father Gets $400,000 in Compensation Following Punctured Bowel During Surgery

Case Overview
  • Our client visited a teaching hospital suffering symptoms of appendicitis where he was rushed to surgery and was discharged the next day.
  • But he continued to suffer considerable pain and discomfort over the following 15 days which turned out to be due to perforation near the site of the original appendectomy.
  • As a result of the 15-day delay, our client lost part of his bowel and received $400k compensation for medical negligence.

In 2017, our client attended a teaching hospital in NSW suffering symptoms of appendicitis. He has rushed to surgery and was discharged from the hospital the following day.

Our client returned to the hospital on 4 subsequent occasions with ongoing abdominal pain. Despite blood tests that showed inflammatory markers and a CT scan which showed free fluid within his abdominal cavity, our client was discharged. 

Our client continued to suffer considerable pain and discomfort over the following 15 days when the pain became so excruciating that an ambulance needed to be called. On arrival at the hospital, the attending surgeon assessed our client and determined that emergency surgery was required. During the surgery, the attending surgeon found that there was a perforation of our client’s bowel at or near the site of the original appendectomy. As a result of the 15-day delay, our client lost part of his bowel.

“Further complications were experienced, including a would infection which resulted in a breakdown of the surgical scar. Not only was our client faced with significant future abdominal surgery, our client also was unable to work in his normal employment.”

Susan Newman
Our Approach

While initially engaging the professional services of Gerard Malouf and Partners in respect of a Workers Compensation claim, our
 expert Solicitors quickly identified a potential further claim to be explored on her behalf.

In preparing the claim for lodgement, our Solicitors considered what the appropriate “date of disablement” would be noting
our client had multiple conditions diagnosed over the course of a few years. When assessing a claim for total and permanent
disablement, the Superfund/Insurer are required to determine the date which the member became “disabled”. This date can
make or break the outcome of a claim.

It was argued that the date of disablement should be taken to be on or around the date she ceased work as a result of her
psychological injury despite her subsequent deterioration and physical ailments. A later date would likely have rendered the claim
 Detailed investigations were undertaken, and the claim was subsequently lodged with extensive supporting evidence.

Opinions were obtained from a number of specialists doctors, namely, a General Surgeon, a Gastrointestinal Surgeon and a Psychiatrist. The reports outlined the negligence on behalf of the defendant hospital and also outlined the considerable harm that was suffered as a result of the delayed treatment. 

The matter proceeded to Mediation and due to the strength of our evidence on negligence, the only issue between the parties was an appropriate allowance for the losses suffered by our client. Our client was brave enough to speak to the defendant’s legal representatives and the Mediator about the problems he continued to suffer. Our client was happy with this result and also happy knowing that they could now undergo all the recommended treatment required without the need to linger of public waiting lists.

The Result

We were able to achieve $400,000 in Compensation for our client.

Susan Newman Lawyer

Susan Newman

Senior Associate
Have enough courage to start and enough heart to finish. – Jessica N. S. Yourko
Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that another in the same position would prudently exercise. The harm caused by negligence is considered to be due to carelessness, rather than a specific intent or determination to cause harm.

While negligence can include misconduct in a variety of circumstances, malpractice is reserved for professionals who fall grossly short of their obligations — and harm others in the process. As a result, malpractice is often called “professional negligence”. If a licensed professional (such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant) fails to provide the accepted standard of care and subsequently causes harm to the plaintiff, this form of negligence may be known as malpractice.

Medical malpractice is specifically used in reference to medical workers who have committed acts of negligence.

Demonstrating that a doctor fell short of their duty of care can be a challenging process. While most doctors try their best to correctly diagnose conditions and provide timely medical treatment, they can’t always be right. In every state, protections are in place to shield practitioners from some litigation. These give practitioners peace of mind on the job and protect hospitals that are doing their best with limited resources. However, these laws also set the bar for receiving compensation incredibly high.

Overall, to win a favorable judgment, you must be able to prove Duty, Breach, and Damages.

If you have been injured or an existing condition has got worse following a medical procedure, or even just a visit to the doctor, then you may have been the victim of medical negligence and you may be eligible to make medical negligence claims against the professional who caused your injury.

If you can first show that you have suffered harm, and secondly, that a medical professional failed in their duty of care towards you then you may be entitled to compensation.


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Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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