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Negligence Claim Against Private Hospital Settles for $1.5 Million

Case Overview
  • Our client visited a private hospital with a history of feeling lightheaded and uncoordinated with her dominant hand, feeling forgetful and confused.
  • It was found that there were a number of missed opportunities by the attending doctors to diagnose and treat our client for stroke symptoms.
  • Our skilled lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners were able to secure a settlement of $1.5 million.

We received instructions to investigate a claim relating to treatment provided to our client at a private hospital over her initial 36 hour admission. Our client presented for treatment to a private hospital with a history of feeling lightheaded and uncoordinated with her dominant hand, feeling forgetful, and confused.

We prepared a case on the basis that the records from the hospital indicated that there were a number of missed opportunities by the attending doctors to diagnose and treat our client for stroke symptoms and as a result of these missed opportunities, our client suffered irreversible and irreparable disabilities and injuries. Our client’s injuries were to such a catastrophic level, she was unable to ever return to work in childcare and required 24-hour care in a specialised home.

“Ultimately, the defendant Hospital capitulated on this issue and commenced cross claims against two attending doctors.”

Susan Newman
Our Approach

Proceedings were commenced against the Private Hospital in the Supreme Court of NSW. In order to prepare this matter for hearing a vast number of expert reports were required. We initially required reports from an Emergency Physician addressing what assessments and investigations should have been conducted at the time that our client arrived at hospital. Secondly, we required expert evidence from a Neurologist, outlining what an attending  Neurologist should have arranged by way of examinations and investigations (e.g.: radiological investigations). Thirdly, we required expert opinions from Neurosurgeons commenting on whether those investigations had of been conducted (as recommended by the Neurologist). 

The Hospital’s response was to deny any liability and in fact suggest that they were not the proper defendant, but rather, the individual attending doctors.

The defendant Hospital obtained evidence that was in direct conflict with our experts, despite this the Hospital indicated that they were prepared to consider an informal settlement between the parties. Accordingly, a Mediation was arranged. Unfortunately, the representatives for the Hospital used the opportunity to emphasise their view that we should join additional defendants in the proceedings.

We maintained our stance and asserted that the attending doctors would be seen by the Court as employees of the Hospital. While these arguments were ongoing between the parties, we had obtained a number of reports addressing our client’s ongoing injuries, her need for high-level care for the remainder of her life, and her significant loss of income.

Essentially there was no disagreement between the parties as to our client’s injuries, the main issues between the parties were whether our client’s injuries were a result of the delay in treatment (noting that the evidence suggested that she had suffered a stroke prior to her arrival).  

Our expert evidence indicated that our client, while likely to have suffered some ongoing physical disability, would not have required such a high level of care. The matter was listed for hearing in February 2021 for a 2-week hearing.  The court directed the parties to participate in a Mediation prior to the commencement of the hearing. 

At the Mediation there was a significant dispute between the Hospital and the doctors against which the Hospital had made cross-claims against.  Further, the ongoing issue between the parties as to precisely what could be attributed to the delay of treatment of 36 hours. 

The Result

We were ultimately able to secure a settlement for our client in the sum of $1.5 million. Allowing our client to receive the ongoing care she needed.

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

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.

The length of time required to resolve medical negligence claims will depend on a number of factors. Chief among them are the complexities of your particular case and how it is ultimately resolved.

Typically though – based on a wealth of experience fighting and winning medical malpractice cases – our medical negligence lawyers will advise you that it will take between 12 and 24 months to resolve your case.

Cases that are resolved through mediation tend to be a lot quicker. The opposite is true of cases that go to the Supreme Court, where the likely time frame from your first meeting with us to reaching a conclusion extends to 36 months.


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Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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