All Posts Tagged: wrong prescription poisoning

Woman Successful in Claim for Employer Medical Negligence following Appeal

A woman in Australia has been successful in her claim for employer medical negligence after the original decision to award her compensation was upheld in the Court of Appeal.

Michelle Strickland (53) from Macquarie Fields in Sydney brought her claim for employer medical negligence after having passed out while working on the crate-cleaning process line at Chep Australia’s Wetherill Park factory in November 2010.

Michelle was taken to hospital, where doctors discovered that an aneurysm in her brain had ruptured, causing potentially fatal bleeding. Michelle underwent two major brain surgeries within the following year, but was left suffering from facial paralysis and memory loss, and has difficulty maintaining a conversation.

During a subsequent check-up, Michelle´s GP identified a connection between her neurological injury and an anti-inflammatory drug she had been prescribed by her employer´s contracted doctor, to treat a repetitive strain injury she had developed due to working on the crate-cleaning process line for ten years.

Through her husband, Michelle made a claim for employer medical negligence against Chep Australia, alleging she had complained to the company´s doctor that taking the medication gave her headaches and made her eyes hurt, but the doctor had told her to stop working until the headache cleared and then start again.

Chep Australia denied Michelle´s allegations, claiming that there was no connection between Michelle´s aneurysm rupturing and her employment, and that her neurological injury was inevitable as Michelle had a history of high blood pressure and was a regular smoker.

However, the New South Wales Workers Compensation Commission found in Michelle´s favour and awarded weekly compensation for employer medical negligence plus a package to ensure all her medical expenses were covered.

Michelle´s employers fought the decision and took her claim for employer medical negligence to the New South Wales Court of Appeal in Sydney. The Court rejected Chep Australia´s appeal and upheld the original verdict made in Michelle´s favour.

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Most Medical Malpractice Claims against GPs are for Wrong Diagnosis says RCSI

According to a report commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), most medical malpractice claims against GPs are for wrong diagnosis.

The report – researched for the RCSI and recently published in the British Medical Journal – was compiled by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin after more than seven thousand medical malpractice claims against GPs had been analysed. Its objective was to identify which areas of primary care required specific attention when developing risk management systems for primary healthcare practitioners and planning future educational strategies.

“The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” found that the most common reason for medical malpractice claims against GPs were for the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer – specifically breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the female genital tract – medication errors (prescribing and administering) and, in children, the failure to correctly diagnose appendicitis and meningitis.

Lead researcher Dr Emma Wallace – who is herself a GP – acknowledged that medical malpractice claims against GPs were not the ideal substitute for adverse events, but commented that when medical malpractice claims are made against GPs, the doctors against whom the claims are made often suffer increased stress levels – reducing their effectiveness, and placing more patients at risk of a misdiagnosis or medication error.

Dr Wallace also highlighted the fact that GPs are more frequently practicing defensively due to the risk of litigation, and referring patients to consultants rather than make a diagnosis themselves. This unwillingness to use their experience to make a diagnosis can lead to patients´ conditions deteriorating further (due to the delay in seeing a consultant) and ultimately create more pressure on an under-resourced health service.

She hopes that the “systematic review is timely considering the increased interest in focusing on primary care as a way of improving patient care and safety” and that the report will provide an insight into the types of adverse events in clinical practice and the reasons for them happening, which would reduce the number of medical malpractice claims against GPs in Ireland and have the effect of increasing the standard of primary care provided.

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Wrong Prescription Poisoning Case Leads to Million Euro Award

The widow of a man who was administered the wrong drug to treat a case of poisoning, has had a wrong prescription poisoning compensation settlement of 1 million Euros approved in the High Court.

Colm O’Donovan (31) from Dunmanway, County Cork, had become ill in August 2005 with suspected food poisoning, and his wife, Patricia, had called the South Doc out of hours medical service. The doctor with the service gave Colm an injection of Cyclamorah, but the next morning his condition had deteriorated. Colm collapsed as he tried to get out of bed and started to suffer seizures.

Patricia once again got in touch with South Doc medical service, and this time Colm was attended by Dr. Johan Dirk van der Meer. Dr. van der Meer diagnosed that Colm’s seizures were a reaction to the first drug and administered an injection of Largactyl – claiming that it would control the seizures. Instead, Colm’s condition continued to worsen and, shortly after being attended by his GP the following morning, suffered a heart attack and died.

It was alleged in the subsequent wrong prescription poisoning action against South West Doctors On Call Ltd, trading as South Doc, of St Finan’s Hospital, County Kerry and Dr. van der Meer that Dr. van der Meer had failed to conduct a full examination of Colm. This, it was alleged, would have shown a serious illness for which Colm could have received treatment in hospital. It was also claimed that by administering the injection of Largactyl, Dr. van der Meer accelerated a serious illness which eventually lead to Colm’s death.

Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was told in the High Court that liability had been admitted by Dr. van der Meer and the action against South Doc was struck out. Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was also told that an agreement had been reached between Colm’s family and the negligent party for a compensation settlement of 1 million Euros, which he was happy to approve.

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