A husband was left deeply distraught and suffered a substantial deterioration in mental health following the loss of his wife which was caused by a missed diagnosis at a New South Wales public hospital. The psychological distress suffered by the husband as a result of losing his wife was significant and warranted a payout of $225,000.
In April 2017, the deceased presented to the emergency department at a NSW public hospital on the advice of her GP and was admitted for abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. The deceased had a history of about two weeks’ abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, inability to tolerate food, and unintentional weight loss. The deceased underwent blood tests and had a CT scan of the abdomen. The doctors confirmed her history of Crohn’s disease and made this the diagnosis.
In June, the deceased presented to an Emergency Department on advice from her GP with a referral letter that strongly suggested that the patient would benefit from fluid and supplement replacement as the deceased had lost 6 kilograms since April. She was tolerating only small amounts of food and fluid. The deceased was treated with intravenous fluids and reportedly felt better and was discharged the same day.
Later in June 2017, the deceased called an ambulance and was taken to the emergency department and subsequently admitted with exacerbation of Crohn’s disease. The deceased was treated with intravenous fluids, then transferred to a general ward.
Whilst in the general ward, the deceased’s family had raised concerns to nursing staff about the deceased’s ongoing pain. The deceased was assessed by the medical emergency team and noted to have severe dehydration, a mild acute kidney injury and hyperkalaemia.
The deceased was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. However, two days later she passed away. The cause of death was noted as liver failure, with multi organ dysfunction, secondary to dehydration.
Gerard Malouf & Partners was approached by the husband to investigate whether the death of his wife was caused by negligence and to seek compensation for his mental distress.
GMP sought evidence from a specialist in emergency medicine who opined that the diagnosis of the deceased’s superior mesenteric artery and the possibility of mesenteric ischemia was missed, with fatal consequences. By failing to correctly diagnose and treat the patient’s condition, the hospital breached its duty of care to the patient and to our client.
GMP arranged for the client to be assessed by a psychiatrist who detailed the level of impairment and ongoing disabilities that affected our client as a result of suffering from nervous shock. The reports prepared by our experts allowed us to quantify the damage, enabling the matter to be settled at a mediation.
The death of a loved one can be a painful event especially in circumstances where the death was avoidable and caused by negligence on the part of treating medical professionals. If you have suffered mental harm as a result of the death or severe injury of a close relative potentially caused by an act of medical negligence, please call Gerard Malouf & Partners on 1800 004 878 and ask to speak to one of our experienced Medical Negligence Lawyers.