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WA Can I Make a Claim for Medical Negligence?

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by nate711, 6 June 2016.

  1. nate711

    nate711 Member

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    A doctor I saw 2 years ago for back pain referred me to get x-rays in where no abnormalities were found. His closing statement was ''the pain is in my head'' and that's the last I heard from him.

    I've recently seen a different GP and I was given an MRI which found arthritis and various protruding discs. I'm 23 years old and have been told I have the back of a 50 year old.

    Is this medical negligence? Do I have any legal options to take against the first doctor?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hard to answer medical negligence questions because so much depends on the detail of the case.

    Doctors do have a duty of care to their patients however you need to prove he breached that duty and you suffered injury and damages as a result. If the doctor has failed to diagnose a condition but has done what many other doctors would do, then that is not a breach of his duty.

    FYI, pain and suffering is not sufficient to justify a case, you must have an injury or incapacitation of some kind.
     
  3. Yevgeni

    Yevgeni Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nate,

    I am a lawyer who specialises in litigation, including medical negligence.

    Typically a medical negligence case in the circumstances you described may be difficult as you would have to establish that you suffered damage as a result of the delay to diagnose your condition as opposed to the condition itself. In other words, you would have to establish, even if the doctor did breach his duty of care to you, that the earlier diagnosis would have resulted in a better outcome than ultimately achieved (i.e. through the initiation of appropriate and timely treatment) and the ultimate damage would have been avoided.

    Upon diagnosis did the treatment differ from how you were initially treated (i.e. no treatment at all) by the doctor or are you still being treated conservatively?

    What was the cause of the protruding discs? Was it as a result of an injury, etc?
     
    Sophea likes this.
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi @nate711 , I agree with @Yevgeni . While misdiagnosis can be grounds for a medical negligence claim, you need to prove that because of the misdiagnosis you suffered significant damage that would justify legal proceedings. As Yevgeni pointed out, your treatment options may not have been any different if you had been diagnosed properly initially. Unless you can prove that your life would be considerably different now - ie. cannot work as opposed to can work, its really may not be worth pursuing. In the doctor's defence, an MRI is an expensive test and if it didn't turn up anything like the x-rays didn't, then the might have an unhappy patient complaining about unnecessary expensive tests.
     
  5. nate711

    nate711 Member

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    Yes, well, the main problem I'm facing now is I've just brought my 1st home and can no longer work in forestry as I have for the past 6 years leaving me with a loan and no income. I'm exhausting some of my last options by throwing the question out there and thank you for your response.
     
  6. Yevgeni

    Yevgeni Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nate,

    You may be able to bring a total permanent disablement claim that you may be entitled to under your superannuation policy. There may, also, be coverage for income protection, but that is likely to depend on the terms of your superannuation policy.
     

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