Huge settlement for Northern Rivers client following a failure to treat Transverse Myelitis

PUBLISHED 16 Jul 2015

Our client in this claim is a woman from the Norther Rivers area who received a huge settlement following a failure by a doctor to treat her transverse myelitis resulting in severe disabilities. Our client was first diagnosed with transverse myelitis in September of 2011. Prior to being struck down by this illness she was a single mother (widow) looking after her young daughter.

Transverse Myelitis is a neurological disorder that is caused by the inflammation of the spinal cord. This inflammation can cause damage to the central nervous system if swelling is not reduced. Some patients who experience an episode of transverse myelitis can recover completely provided any inflammation of the spinal cord is not severe enough to permanently damage to central nervous system. Others, who do experience severe damage to their central nervous system, are often left with severe disabilities in some of their limbs and sometimes even issues with bowel or bladder control.

After several falls, our client attended an expert doctor with symptoms of Transverse Myelitis. She was misdiagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease and given certain medication. An MRI scan was then ordered the following day. The Doctor then went on holiday without reviewing the results of this MRI Scan. He did no return for 5 weeks. During this period, the transverse myelitis experienced by our client worsened, and left untreated, resulted in permanent disabilities and extreme pain. Later, upon consulting another doctor, it was found that if her MRI was reviewed, her transverse myelitis could have been diagnosed and treated with the administration of intravenous steroids. This would have reduced inflammation of her spinal cord and resulted in her disabilities being minimised or not occurring at all.

Equipped with the knowledge that her disabilities may be from a doctor failing to take her case seriously and leaving for a holiday without passing her urgent medical issues on, she approached Gerard Malouf and Partners where Leslie Abboud, a senior solicitor with over 30 years of experience, took carriage of this matter.

Despite the clear apparent negligence at first glance of this case, Mr Abboud and his team had to work hard to draw a causal link between a failure to treat and the injuries experienced as it was claimed that our client would have experienced these injuries regardless of any action taken by her doctor. To assist with this Mr Abboud drew on the specialised advice of expert medical practitioners and an experienced barrister.

Through these expert reports it was established that this doctor had been negligent in his management of our client, and that if she was treated sooner, it would have been more likely that her condition would not have been as severe. Armed with clear evidence of a tragic circumstance of gross negligence, Leslie Abboud began to seek to have this matter dealt with as rapidly as possible to ensure the best result for our client.

The Defendants agreed to enter into a mediation following the requests of Mr Abboud and together with our specialist Barrister we were able to achieve a settlement of $360,000.00 for our client. She was very satisfied with this result and thankful that she did not have to go through an emotionally taxing and lengthy experience of a trail. We understand that this settlement won’t be able to cure our client’s disabilities but we hope that it does provide her with some solace and closure following her gross mistreatment. Additionally, we hope that cases like these help encourage medical practitioners to take the complaints and concerns of their patients seriously.

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