Our client, a 33 year old woman from Yagoona with two previous children, was pregnant for her third time with her antenatal care, for all intents and purposes, being relatively uneventful and shared between the regional public hospital and her General Practitioner.
At 28 weeks gestation, although results were reported as normal, our client had a slightly elevated “short GTT” (ie Glucose tolerance test) result which should have promoted a full glucose challenge test. Maternal blood pressure was elevated at 34 weeks gestation which should have prompted further investigations for hypertensions to ensure both maternal and fetal welfare. At 36 weeks gestation, our client began experiencing severe abdominal pain for two hours straight and rang her regional public hospital who recommended she present for review and assessment. Because the CTG (cardiotocograph) tracing performed reported results that were all within the normal range, our client was reassured and discharged without having undergone an ultrasound to determine the possible cause of her abdominal pains. Also, hematological investigations were not performed to evaluate the hypertension, nor was a vaginal examination performed to determine whether our client was in actual labour.
Approximately 2 weeks later and at 38 weeks 4 days gestation, our client rang her regional public hospital complaining of abnormal coloured vaginal discharge and, after presentation, once again, our client was discharged after CTG tracing came back within normal range and without either an ultrasound or vaginal examination being performed. Later that same day, she re-presented and CTG results were now detecting fetal bradycardia (ie a rapidly decelerating/accelerating heart rate). It was finally decided our client needed to undergo an emergency Lower Caesarean Section but, although the C-section was a success, the child was born with Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (ie serious brain injury resulting from lack of oxygen).
After taking some time, our client suspected something may have been wrong with the care afforded to her by this regional public hospital and consulted with the medical negligence professionals at Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate. On a no win no fee basis, the experienced solicitors accepted the challenge and, after consulting with several of their world renowned medical experts, were able to confirm our client’s suspicions insofar as the hospital was medically negligent in their failure to diagnose and treat our client’s abruption placenta.
Placental abruption is when the placenta partially, or completely, detaches from the lining of the uterus before the baby is born and when this occurs, the baby may be deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Although our client’s histopathology reports could not confirm placenta abruption, histology is no absolute. The regional public hospital should have performed an ultrasound and a vaginal examination after our client presented on two occasions with the aforementioned text-book symptoms of placental abruption. In the expert report, our expert confirmed that an ultrasound scan would have detected that the placenta had sheared off the side wall of the uterus to a critical degree and the subsequent effect was to cause a lack of oxygen to the fetus and deleterious neonatal outcome.
Armed with the expert report discussed above, Gerard Malouf & Partners initiated proceedings against this regional public hospital in a case of medical negligence. After extensive discovery (ie exchange of information) the experienced and knowledgeable medical negligence solicitors were able to negotiate a $500,000 settlement. Because Gerard Malouf & Partners operate on a no win no fee basis, legal fees and disbursements for the expert reports came out of this $500,000 with the remaining $375,000 in compensation passed on to the client
Should you feel that you have been a victim of medical negligence because a Doctor or Hospital failed to provide you with adequate care, please contact one of the expert solicitors at Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate your potential claim for medical negligence on a no win, no fee basis.