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Woman Gets $475K in Compensation After Losing Her Partner at a Hospital

Case Overview
  • Our client’s partner was being treated in the Mental Health Unit at a hospital due to ongoing severe mental health issues.
  • The deceased was left unattended for an extended period and subsequently committed suicide in his room.
  • Julie Baqleh, our Senior Medial Negligence solicitor secured $475k compensation for our client.

In May 2017, our client’s partner was being treated in the Mental Health Unit at a hospital due to ongoing severe mental health issues including depression. During his admission, the deceased was left unattended for an extended period and subsequently hung himself in his room. The deceased had a recent history of severe depression and had a recent admission for mental health reasons at a different hospital for a period 4 months.

Our client contacted Gerard Malouf and Partners and spoke to our Senior Medical Negligence solicitor, Julie Baqleh who is also a Partner and Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law. Julie advised our client that she had a good case of medical negligence against Local Health District who operated the Hospital who failed to treat the deceased and prevent his suicide.

Our Approach

Julie and her team obtained the deceased’s medical records to understand the treatment provided to him. The hospital assessed the deceased as a high-risk patient. However there was no long-term management plan in place, and the hospital had failed to implement sustained counselling and recommendations of a psychologist who had seen him in the hospital. In addition, our expert was of the opinion that the deceased required constant 1:1 nursing observation whereas the notes revealed that the hospital failed to undertake an observation for 30 minutes prior to his death.   

Once we had secured an expert opinion in support of the case, we filed the Medical Negligence Proceedings against the Local Health District in the District Court of NSW. Our client brought two claims against the hospital. The first claim was a nervous shock claim for compensation for the psychiatric injuries she sustained because of the deceased’s death. The second claim was compensation to relatives claim under the Compensation to Relatives Act 1897 (NSW) for loss of financial dependency and non-financial dependency (loss of domestic services around the home) as a result of her partner’s death.

 

Julie and her team then obtained evidence in support of both matters including a psychiatric report which concluded our client was suffering from a major depressive disorder. Our expert supported the impacts the deceased death was having on our client’s life, including the requirement for ongoing treatment and that she would likely struggle to form intimate relationships in the future. The Defendant Local Health District admitted that it breached its duty of care to the deceased, however only accepted responsibility for failing to observe the deceased immediately prior to his death, despite more extensive criticisms being made by our expert.

 

Once the parties had obtained their evidence, we were able to proceed to alternative dispute resolution to avoid a court hearing and further legal costs. Our client was pleased with the hard work and dedication of Gerard Malouf and Partners as the compensation recognised the negligence on behalf of the Hospital.

The Result

A mediation was scheduled and GMP were able to secure our client a great result which will greatly assist her future treatment and provide her $475 in compensation for the loss of financial support she would have otherwise received.

Julie Baqleh Lawyer

Julie Baqleh

Partner
My idea of success is to offer my clients a sympathetic listening ear and to understand their needs.
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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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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