QLD Contracted Cold Sore (Herpes) from Doctor's Visit - Medical Negligence?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


24 January 2015
Hi, I’ve been reading around the internet and from what I can gather it seems like I will be able to take little to no action to my current situation but I thought I might post my situation and hopefully gather some further advice.

I will not go into full detail, as some of it is personal.

During an examination at my local general practitioners office, my lip was touched by the doctor. During the examination he did not wear any kind of gloves. As I was leaving the doctors office I noticed that the doctor had a rather large cold sore present on his lip.

This concerned me as I had noticed his poor hygiene practices during the examination, being that he wet his hands under water and dried them after examining me. Not using any type of soap what so ever.

Almost immediately after leaving the doctors office I noticed my lip burning where the doctor had touched it. About a day later I started to get little bumps on my lips. I had it examined by another GP and it was confirmed that it was a cold sore.

How am I certain that I contracted the cold sore from the GP? A couple of days before visiting doctor I had a full STI test completed with HSV coming back negative. Which 6 months prior to that test I had 0 sexual contact. The cold sore appeared exactly where the doctor had touched me/where I felt the burning sensation start after the examination.

I’m sorry if my explanation is a little vague, but I can provide further information is required.

My question is what type of action against medical negligence, if any can I take in this situation.

Thank you in advance for your reply!

Tracy B

Well-Known Member
24 December 2014
Hi James123,

Just to clarify, the doctor's fingers/hand touched you on the lips. The doctor was not wearing at gloves. The doctor did not wash his hands with soup or disinfectant. Now you have a cold sore and you suspect the doctor had transmitted the herpes simplex virus to you?

It could be that you contracted this virus from someone else during this 6 month period, or that you don't actually have the virus in your body. First, you need to get this examined. But even if you do have the virus, it is very difficult to show who gave you this virus. Therefore, taking legal action for this would not be worth it.

You can try talking to the GP directly or complaining to the hospital about the doctor's hygiene matters. However, just because you did not see the doctor wash his hands with soap does not mean he did not use disinfectant before/after your examination.

I am unfamiliar with the hygiene requirements for GP practices. It is probably best to contact the following departments to enquire and lodge a complaint (if you wish to):

- Office of the Health Ombudsman QLD
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency