Beilby Poulden Costello have played a lead role in a number of matters arising out of the Campbelltown/Camden Hospital failures which it will be recalled resulted in a special commission of inquiry into Campbelltown and Camden Hospitals undertaken by the Health Care Complaints Commission.
We have a number of past clients who have suffered as a result of failures in the South Western Area Health Service. Regrettably in some of the cases this has involved us having to represent the families at Coronial Inquests into tragic deaths which evidence supports were able to be prevented with reasonable care on behalf of the hospitals.
We continue to be involved in important litigation on behalf of individuals and families. Some examples of the types of matters are listed below.
- Litigation on behalf of the family of a T5 paraplegic who attended Campbelltown hospital with respiratory problems. Evidence we have suggests that the medical practitioners concerned failed to take reasonable steps to intubate the patient resulting in a severe reduction in oxygen saturation. The hospital failed in its attempts to restore breathing, resulting in the death. The matter was dealt with by the Coroner over a number of days of hearing. The Coroner made findings critical of the hospital procedures and, in particular, the failure of the hospital to have available adequately qualified persons to carry out emergency procedures and, further, that the hospital did not have readily available some of the equipment that could have been used on a emergency basis to revive the patient.
- One of our client’s gave birth to her daughter by way of routine caesarean section at Liverpool Hospital. Unfortunately for our client she had some complications following discharge and represented to the hospital a short time afterwards with a major post partum haemorrhage. As a consequence of the haemorrhage, she required emergency surgery which included the transfusion of one or more units of pact cells. It subsequently transpired that our client had contracted the Hepatitis C Virus and that the infection was most likely caused by the transfusion of a contaminated unit of blood. We have commenced proceedings on behalf of our client against the Australian Red Cross Society over its failure to properly screen the blood donor and for its failure to recognise that the blood was contaminated.
- A young mother and partner of one our clients underwent a routine procedure at Gosford Hospital involving a laproscopic cholecystectomy. The young lady, aged 24, made complaints of pain prior to her discharge. A detailed medical examination did not appear to have been undertaken prior to discharge. Upon returning home there was pain and breathing problems and calls were made to the hospital. Tragically the young lady collapsed and despite emergency treatment, died some two days following the original surgery. The distraught partner has lost his partner and their child no longer has the benefit of his mother. A Coroner’s Inquest and Court proceedings for compensation are pending.
- One of our clients was being treated in the psychiatric unit of Cumberland Hospital when she was transported to the main part of Westmead Hospital for treatment. The hospital has regulations concerning the transportation of psychiatric patients and what constitutes proper supervision. Our client was waiting at the entrance to the hospital when she propped herself against a wall and tumbled over a distance of about 10 metres, landing on a concrete pathway below, resulting in her becoming a paraplegic. We have taken action against the hospital not only for its failure to properly supervise her but for the danger created by an inadequate barrier to prevent patients being to able fall a substantial distance.
These are but a few examples of incidences where we have made allegations of negligence on behalf of our clients and are proceeding with substantial claims for damages.
Accidents certainly do happen in hospitals and in many cases those accidents happen without any negligence on behalf of the hospital workers and are simply risks inherent in any medical situation. There are, however, some circumstances where incidents could be avoided and it is in those cases that we advise clients to seek professional opinion about compensation proceedings.
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