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WA Thoughts on General Pediatrician's Medical Negligence?

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by danny213, 10 October 2015.

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  1. danny213

    danny213 Member

    10 October 2015
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    Hi Everyone,

    Basically a relative of mine experienced the onset of stroke while working one day. He visited a GP complaining about his sudden dizziness and disorientation, and headache. The doctor basically checked his blood pressure which recorded 180/90, which is quite high. He gave him a shot of valium and told him it was safe for him to drive home. As he was driving home, his condition worsened and eventually he pulled over, lost consciousness for a long time, when he woke up 3 hours later and he managed to get himself to a hospital. He He was in critical situation for a while but eventually stabilised, but he lost 40% of his vision.

    He is 54 and slightly overweight, but has been generally healthy with free from medical issues in the past. We are trying to see if he has a case in terms medical negligence or not. Things to consider:

    - The need to prove that that the GP did not provide enough care, it could be that when he visited the GP. His conditions were still too generic to point directly to symptoms of stroke, in which case the the the doctor's actions may have seem reasonable.

    - Strokes are generally hard to treat even if detected earlier, if my relative had been re-directed to the hospital straight away after GP consultation, he might received better treatment and his condition might not have been as bad. These things require independent medical opinion.

    A lot rests of the medical opinion on what the "reasonable" level of care that should been afforded to my relative when he visited GP which required opinion of medical experts.

    However, I am just wondering if anyone here can provide some help or perspectives on the legal aspects of this situation. We have been to a no firm with a No Win No Fee basis. However there is still a lot of costs need to paid out-of-pocket just for the investigation stage. So any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

    2 October 2015
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    Dear Danny,

    As you have touched on in your post - it is very hard to prove a medical negligence claim.

    As a Plaintiff, you will need to:

    1. Establish that the doctor had a duty of care to your relative; (liability)
    2. That the doctor breached that duty of care to your relative; (breach)
    3. That there was damaged caused to your relative; (damage)
    4. That the damage caused was due to the breach of duty of care to your relative; (causation).

    It is easier to prove a medical negligence claim when there is a longer time period rather than a shorter time period as shown here in your post.

    Whether it is worth running a medical negligence claim depends on the amount of damages that could be possible claimed:

    1. General Damages (can be psych (if any psychiatric condition occurred from this) or could be loss of enjoyment of life or pain and suffering)
    2. Economic Loss
    • Did your relative take any time off work?
    • If he/she did take time off work - how long for?
    • Has he/she been able to return to work?
    3. Gratuitous care
    • Did anyone help your relative to do work around the house that they usually did?
    • Did anyone have to take your relative to and from medical appointments?
    4. Medical Expenses - Past and Future
    • Did your relative have to pay for medications or procedures to be done due to the injury that they sustained?
    • Have they been having any extra treatment - eg Occupational Therapy, Physio etc?
    • Do they have to have any procedures done in the near future for the injury they sustained?
    Unfortunately there is a threshold for general damages and gratuitous care and unless the award is over the thresholds - there is no compensation payable.

    In order to lessen the cost when seeking legal advice in medical negligence claims:
    • Advise your relative to obtain his medical records from both his/her general practitioner and the hospital they were sent to under the freedom of information and the privacy act.
    • Take these medical records to the law firm so there is less cost in investigating the claim.
    Unfortunately in Perth, most firms are taking less and less medical negligence claims due to the fact that they are hard to win due to having to prove both liability and causation.

    It would depend on the amount of damages that can be claimed to determine if it would be worth taking the case on as your relative would still want some money left after paying legal fees.

    I suggest your relative contact a couple more small personal injury law firms who deal with medical negligence to see if it is worth pursuing the claim. See Get Connected with the Right Lawyer for You

    Good luck
  3. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

    2 October 2015
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    35 more thing - Medical Negligence claims have a three year limitation period - meaning that in order to protect your relatives rights to initiate an action in medical negligence they would have to file a writ within three years of sustaining the injury claimed for.
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    27 May 2014
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    Gross negligence should be the ONLY criteria applied and with the number of cases a doctor sees they cannot be expected to get everything right first time in 15 mins. Give the doctor a history to review and he has a semi decent chance of getting a good result.

    Of course, I could be wrong and this is a regular GP and your relative does regular checkups with the same doctor. Apologies for the emotive language in my post, this is one of my pet peeves. Strongly dislike people refusing to take responsibility for their own actions and seek to blame someone else who in most cases is genuinely trying to help people. Sure there are exceptions, but that is what they are are, at least in Australia, exceptions.

    No way do I want to see the litigious US system brought here.

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