Martin v Minister for Health (Medical Negligence)

My client was admitted, to the Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial District Hospital (AKH) for treatment for septic arthritis.

During the course of that treatment an attempt was made, on 23 November 2012, to peripherally insert a central catheter (PICC) line via his right arm so he could be treated with antibiotics. During the attempt he suffered injury to the interior of his right arm which resulted in compression of his right median nerve.

It was not until 24 January 2013 that an ultrasound was performed and the injury diagnosed and not until 28 February 2013 that he underwent surgery to decompress the right median nerve.

Our case was that decompression surgery should have occurred within about two weeks of the failed PICC attempt.

Our client developed symptoms in his right arm and hand consistent with compression of the right median nerve and mane numerous complaints to AKH staff of pain from approximately 23 November 2012. He made similar complaints after being transferred to Fremantle Hospital (FH) onĀ  6 December 2012. It was found by the Trial Judge that if those symptoms and complaints had been investigated earlier, a diagnosis would have been made and decompression surgery would saved our client from damage to his median nerve. The hospital staff were negligent in not carrying out those investigations and surgery within the two week timeframe.

As a result of the delays our client’s right median nerve suffered from prolonged compression which resulted in significant disability to the hands’ function. This not only caused significant pain but resulted in past and future economic loss as our client was unable to work.

The case was successful and our client awarded $444,254.00 in compensation.