Central Western NSW man resolves claim against NSW hospital for over $320,000 following failed diagnosis of joint disease

PUBLISHED 15 Jun 2017

This matter involved a man from central western NSW who required a complete hip replacement following a failure by a local hospital to appropriately diagnose his presenting condition.

In this case, this man was referred by his general practitioner to hospital with weakness in his left hip. It was noted upon referral that this man had a previous drug addiction and was currently on the Methadone program to manage and resolve this. Furthermore, it was noted that he had previously been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and this information was available to the hospital upon his presentation. Despite the referral from this man’s general practitioner, the registrar at this hospital diagnosed tendonitis, prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and advised the plaintiff to do stretches. Not being a medical expert, the plaintiff accepted this advice and attempted as best as he could to follow these instructions.

Several months later, the plaintiff re-presented to hospital with further and worse discomfort in tendons over is left hip. Once again, he was recommended for physiotherapy and diagnosed with having back pain. His condition again did not improve and his GP once again referred him to the hospital. Eventually, a further month later an MRI was taken of his hip. This MRI confirmed significant damage to his left hip joint and continuing degradation of the joint.  Essentially the Plaintiff was suffering from septic arthritic joint disease and the longer that this disease was not recognised and treated, the worse the damage to his musculoskeletal system would have been. Once diagnosed by this MRI which occurred many, many months following his initial presentation and complaints, the plaintiff finally received treatment.

Unfortunately, not only was his result not ideal considering the progression of his septic arthritis but he was very well aware that this condition had been present when his symptoms were significantly less severe and he had presented many months ago.

Aggrieved with the treatment he had received from this hospital, he approached Gerard Malouf and Partners where Leslie Abboud, a special medical negligence litigator with over 30 years’ experience took carriage of his matter. Mr Abboud, with having dealt with cases like this before being well aware that past intervener drug users are at significantly a higher risk of developing illnesses like this, and furthermore being well aware that hospitals hold guidelines and recommendations regarding the treatment of these individuals, Mr Abboud urgently commenced investigations briefing several medical experts as the treatment, care and management received by this man. This suspicion proved correct with expert medical opinion confirming that this man should have been treated significantly earlier than he ultimately was.

Armed with this evidence and with the assistance of an expert barrister specialising in medical negligence, Mr Abboud and  his team commenced proceedings in the District Court of NSW with strong evidence and a desire to resolve the proceedings as soon as possible.

In line with this view, Mr Abboud arranged an informal settlement conference where a settlement was negotiated for over $320,000. Our client was very satisfied with this result, he thanked Leslie and his team as well as the expert barrister for their efforts of taking on this matter, identifying complex medical issues and resolving without too much stress.

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