Sydney Hospital patient awarded $240,000 damages due to doctor negligence

PUBLISHED 30 Jun 2020

Our client was an elderly patient at a Sydney hospital in the Inner West of Sydney in the state of New South Wales attending to a pre-admission clinic for a hospital medical examination by a specialist when she was requested to descend from the examination table onto the footstool and was caused to lose balance and fall heavily onto the floor fracturing her right ankle. The hospital denied the accident, but their own medical records confirmed the accident had occurred.

The hospital was a supplier of services to consumers within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law 2011 by which consumers are entitled to the benefit of guarantees of the provision of such services with due care and skill, including the maintenance of safe premises for the purposes of medical examinations. The hospital denied liability for any negligence on its part. We commenced legal proceedings against the hospital and the negligence included the failure to properly assist our client to descend from the examination table, and failing to provide a suitable examination table capable of vertical movement either manually or electronically, requiring our client to descend the examination table which was too high from the footstool. Our liability expert being a mechanical engineer reported that she would not have fallen had the hospital and its doctors followed its own guidelines.

We arranged for our client to be medically examined and assessed. The orthopaedic surgeon medical opinion stated that the fractured right ankle had a profound effect on her mobility resulting in her being wheelchair bound and she developed swelling in both ankles, ulceration and complications of the right ankle fracture. As a result, our client was suffering from 30% permanent loss of use of the right leg and 20% permanent loss of use of the left leg. An occupational therapist report to determine the domestic care assistance that she required after the accident prior and subsequent to the accident. Our client states that she was independent in showering, washing her hair and dressing before the accident. She continued to be independent until July 2017 after developing the ulcer on her right leg. It was determined that our client would require domestic care and assistance for past and future as a result of her injury. The client also attended to be medically examined at the request of the hospital and they provided their medical reports.

The court ordered a mediation hearing on the liability, negligence and medical issues in dispute. At the conclusion of the mediation hearing the hospital was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages of $240,000 for her injuries, losses and damages as a result of the negligence of the hospital in causing the accident and her injuries. Our client was happy and vindicated with the outcome of her claim.

If you are a patient like our client and suffer an injury at a hospital and this is due to the negligence of the hospital or their staff, you may be entitled to an award of damages in compensation for your injuries suffered from the accident. It will be essential to obtain all the liability and medical expert evidence to establish such negligence against the hospital. If the hospital followed their own practice guidelines in relation to preventing falls and harm from falls in older people whilst undertaking, our client would not have fallen and suffered her fractured right ankle.

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact our toll-free number on 1800 004 878  so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend our office to protect your legal rights in the matter.

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