When consulting your general practitioner, specialist or any other medical professional, chances are you’re sick. What you often don’t know yet, is the cause of that illness, how long it will last, how severe it is and whether it puts your life at risk.
This is the reason we consult doctors and you expect the medical professional from whom you seek treatment to take all steps necessary to diagnose and treat your illness.
The New South Wales District Court recently heard a claim against former-doctor, Graeme Reeves, brought on the basis that he refused to properly investigate the cause of a patient’s illness for fear of catching a virus.
The patient 38-year-old, Ms Mcallister passed away just five days after giving birth to her third child at The Hills Private Hospital in May 1996. The District Court heard that the day immediately following her delivery, she developed shivers, pain in her limbs, fatigue and a temperature which reached 40.1C.
Dr Reeves diagnosed Ms Mcallister as suffering from virus, and did not take the appropriate steps to properly investigate and treat her condition.
A nurse on duty at the time observed Dr Reeves was unconcerned with Ms Mcallister’s progressive condition and “wasn’t going near Kerrie because he didn’t want to catch (the virus)”.
We now know Ms Mcallister was suffering from a severe bacterial infection, known as Septicaemia, which led to her death days later.
Dr Reeves’ admitted wrongdoing, but says his conduct did not constitute criminal negligence. We await the verdict of the Court.
Negligence by medical practitioners can have severe and devastating effects on a patient, and those who care for them. In NSW, claims can be made under Civil Liability Act (NSW) 2002 for compensation where a medical professional has breached their duty of care and it has caused you harm.
If you feel that you have suffered harm as a result of the negligent care or treatment of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation. We recommend you visit the medical negligence page on our website or contact us on 1800 25 1800 to speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors. Alternatively, you can make an online enquiry.
Written by Mark Crollos.
Mark Crollos is a law clerk in Julie Mahony’s Practice Group. Mark provides Julie and the rest of the medical negligence team with administrative assistance.