West Australian Medical Negligence Law Blog

Insights On Medical Negligence Issues From The Perth Area And Throughout Australia

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Latest from West Australian Medical Negligence Law Blog

Ellis v East Metro Health Service [2018] WADC 91 I read with interest the latest instalment in Judge Gething’s decisions in relation to this contentious birth injury case.  The substantive decision in the plaintiff’s favour is working its way at present to the Court of Appeal.  It will be interesting to see what our CoA makes of the matter and whether some of the more uncertain issues concerning the CLA are clarified. In this latest…
In the decision Espinos v Popovic published by Judge Braddock on 8 August 2018, the run of successes by plaintiffs in  medical negligence claims continued.  Her Honour awarded damages to Mr Espinos in his claim against deceased neurosurgeon, Emile Popovic, in the sum of $4,817,311. These are very high damages for a claim for negligent care surrounding a spinal fusion operation for a 55-year-old self-employed man, who, it was conceded, was appropriately advised to undergo…
I recently attended the AvMA conference in the UK.  AvMA is one of the UK’s peak bodies in medical negligence (or clinical negligence as they call it), law. I would recommend the conference to anyone working in this area on the patient side.  Although there are inevitable differences, there is considerable overlap and perhaps warning in some aspects, as to where we may head. Ironically, while our Civil Liability legislation continues to cause confusion about the role…
It is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the last week or so I have been reminded of this and the forensic usefulness of the modern era of smartphones and particularly phone cameras. In the last week, on 2 entirely separate substantial claims we are investigating, smartphone-based photographs provide compelling evidence as to the condition of the relevant patients, not otherwise evident from the relevant medical records. In the…
I noticed with interest and some concern, recent media attention (see for example and a Herald Sun story in mid-May) concerning the number of Australians travelling to Asia to undergo cosmetic surgery.  According to a recent report, this may be 15,000 patients a year. Concerns have arisen at the costs then borne by Medicare for remedial treatment for patients suffering complications of the procedure overseas.  According to a Monash Uni study, this is almost $13,000…
I today presented a paper at conference providing a review of 10 recent Australian medical law cases since January 2016, which I found interesting. Cases reviewed were: Coote, Bigg, Morocz, Westcott, Martin, Pierce, Sorbello, McManus and Stefanyszyn and Wright. Although only a single Judge decision, I particularly noted the WA District Court Judge Sweeney’s decision in Wright v Minister for Health [2016] WADC 93, which is an interesting [if long] read as to the approach…
It is no doubt my age..  but I have an acute sense of deja vu! As from 1 July 2016, we have ‘reverted’ to the old scheme of Boards of Management running our major hospitals (and geographic areas).  See the Health Services Act 2016 + the 30 June 16 Government Gazette. The consequence, if I am right, is that the Minister for Health (not in this context the MP, but the entity incorporated as the…
I read with interest the article in last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald concerning Ian Harris’s recent book. In the interests of full disclosure, Ian is an orthopaedic surgeon from whom we commonly seek advice, as an independent expert to review and comment on orthopaedic cases we are investigating. He strikes me as a sensible and “down-to-earth” expert. I was intrigued at the list of operations which apparently his book confirms are commonly performed but objectively…
Coincidentally, in month or so before Christmas I have handled pre-trial settlement negotiations in relation to 2 similar cases, in the sense they both involved negligence allegations which it was claimed had led to the death of my clients life partners (in old fashioned speech: wives..). Although the background and issues with the medical care were entirely different, the first thing that was notable in each case was the rawness and severity of their persisting anger and…
My impression is that there has been an increase in recent times of cases presented before our District Court in which claimants have represented themselves, without a lawyer. A sobering example of the dangers of this course, is the New South Wales Supreme Court’s recent decision in Fan -v- South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (No. 3) [2015] NSWSC 1620. In this decision by Justice Harrison, the court dealt with the legal costs following failure of Mr Fan’s medical negligence claim.…