Medical Defence

 
Our medical defence team has extensive expertise in the health professions and care sectors Australia-wide.

Hall & Wilcox has a specialist medical defence team. In the past decade we have invested heavily in our health, aged care, life sciences and community practices to develop a market-leading national practice.

Expertise

We advise on myriad legal matters related to:

  • Policy development and risk assessments
  • Coronial investigations and inquiries
  • Regulatory actions
  • Disciplinary investigations and proceedings led by AHPRA, HCCC and others
  • Government inquiries including Royal Commission
  • All type of clinical claims including:
    • misdiagnoses
    • delayed treatment or surgical intervention
    • negligent treatment or surgery
    • failure to diagnose post-operative complications.
    • failure to warn of material risks
    • medical trespass and battery
    • birth torts (including wrongful birth claims)
    • e-health.

Experience

  • Acting for an oral pathologist in a complaint made to AHPRA involving allegations of delayed diagnosis of a rare form of oral cancer. The complaint was dismissed, and a subsequent personal injury claim was resolved commercially.
  • Acting for a privately owned pathology practice in defence of a NSW Supreme Court medical negligence proceeding. The patient was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and later passed away. The patient’s spouse and young children brought compensation to relatives claims alleging a failure to detect early signs of cancer from pathology screening.
  • Successfully defending Western Australia District Court proceedings against an orthopaedic surgeon alleged to have caused compartment syndrome.
  • Acting for an ED consultant regarding the death of a young child at a rural hospital from sepsis following an undiagnosed perforated duodenal ulcer.
  • Acting for a rural GP in a claim brought by a teenager who sustained nerve damage, disfigurement and partial amputation of toes after undergoing a routine bilateral ingrown toenail excision.
  • Acting for a VMO urologist who incorrectly performed a prostatectomy and subsequent urethral sling implantation.
  • Acting for a VMO orthopaedic surgeon who incorrectly placed a patient on the traction operating table during a hip arthroscopy, resulting in patient suffering a crush injury to her pelvis area/vagina.
  • Advising St Vincent’s Hospital during the Philip Hughes coronial inquest.
  • Acting for a cardiology department in a tertiary public hospital regarding a claim made by a patient who was prescribed an anti-coagulant that was contraindicated for a patient who suffered an aortic dissection that required the insertion of a mechanical heart valve. However, the anti-coagulant was prescribed by the patient’s general practitioner. We obtained evidence from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and expert evidence, that supported our view that the majority of liability rested with the patient’s general practitioner. We also obtained evidence from the patient’s Facebook page revealing numerous inconsistencies with the patient’s alleged symptoms, assisting in minimising quantum.
  • Acting for an orthopaedic surgeon who performed an arthroscopic chrondroplasty and chondral biopsy which resulted in a rare complication of a large aneurysm developed secondary to an injury to the popliteal artery. The patient alleged the surgeon caused the injury to the popliteal artery and failed to diagnose the complication post-operatively. Our review of the medical records, and discussions with the insured, revealed the surgeon did not operate near the popliteal fossa. The Plaintiff withdrew the allegation that the surgeon caused the injury.
  • Appearing for a NSW Local Health District in Supreme Court of NSW, Court of Appeal and High Court proceedings involving a litigant in person. We also assisted five doctors during Medical Council of NSW and HCCC investigations and provided legal advice to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital during GIPA (akin to FOI) proceedings.

Key contacts

Mitch is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who acts for insurers and private clients.

Bridget is a general insurance lawyer with a focus on professional indemnity, medical liability claims and indemnity disputes.

Rachael is a well-rounded and experienced insurance lawyer with a focus on general insurance and product liability.

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