We acted for an Inverell client in a medical negligence claim for damages arising out of inadequate medical treatment he received at a public hospital when a doctor failed to properly treat a wound. Our client sustained a deep laceration injury to his right forearm at home when using a knife to trim a tree. He presented to the hospital at about 6.30 p.m. and at about 7 p.m. a Doctor attended on our client, had a quick look at the laceration, cleaned the wound and applied sutures.
Our client was discharged at approximately 8 p.m. with recommendations that he return to his GP for follow-up. Our client’s right arm continued to give him pain and he presented to his GP some 4 months later. His GP referred him to undergo an ultrasound and this revealed major damage to 2 tendons in his right arm. As a result, our client required repair to the tendon which could only be done by surgery. Our allegations of negligence involves the duty by the doctor to exercise reasonable care and skill in providing professional medical services, covering all the ways in which a medical practitioner is called upon to exercise his or her skill and judgement and extending to the examination, diagnosis and treatment of our client, the provision of the information and advice when he or she knows or ought to have known that our client intends to act or rely on it, together with the process of obtaining consent to treatment.
We alleged that the Doctor who examined our client ought to have known that in the circumstances of the laceration injury there was a risk that our client had damaged or severed his tendons and that the failure to diagnose and treat the damaged tendons would lead to sub-optimal outcome. In order to corroborate this we obtained a liability report from a well-regarded Queensland surgeon who was able to give an opinion on what the Doctor should have done when presented with a laceration such as our client’s. We were able to use this report as our evidence to commence proceedings in the District Court at Sydney and pursue a claim against the hospital.
The matter ran through the District Court case management process and Orders were eventually made for the parties to participate in an Informal Settlement Conference. The Informal Settlement Conference took place at an independent location where our client was represented by Ms. Beshay and a barrister. The Defendant hospital was also represented by a solicitor and barrister. Prior to attendance at the Informal Settlement Conference our client’s case was fully prepared and a Schedule of Damages was discussed with our client.
We were able to attend the Informal Settlement Conference and resolve the matter without having incurred the costs associated with proceeding to a hearing. The matter ultimately resolved for $270,000 inclusive of costs.
In our opinion, this is a very good settlement and one which covers our client’s injuries, out of pocket expenses for the past and the future, as well as wage loss.
Our firm was able to get this result for our client due to the access we have to medical and expert resources and the ability we have to match the big defendants and insurance firms. We also work on a ‘no win/no fee’ arrangement and this gave reassurance to our client that he was protected.