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Joelle Matar featured on 2GB Deborah Knight Show discussing medical negligence - 4 May 2021

Joelle Matar providing Q & A on the 2GB Deborah Knight Afternoon Show discussing Medical Negligence - 4 May 2021


DK – Deborah Knight / JM – Joelle Matar –  C1,2,3, etc – Callers 


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Read the transcript below:

DK      And as we do every Tuesday, free legal advice. So give me a call. 131 873. Medical negligence is our topic today and we rely on medical experts and doctors. So what happens when something goes wrong?  There might have been a mistake in surgery and it could cause a lot of problems down the track. So what can you do? 131 873 is the number to call.  Joelle Matar from Turner Freeman Lawyers is on the line to take all of your questions on medical negligence. If you have one, you can also be in the running for a $100 Westfield voucher. So free legal advice and we’ll throw in a Westfield Voucher to boot. 131 873. Joelle, thanks for your time. I want to talk about the story in the news before we get to the calls about hospital wait times and particular ambulance wait times and that has been a big topic in Queensland recently but I spotted this out of Adelaide. A young girl’s appendix ruptured because she had waited 6 hours before being examined by a doctor, surely that’s the case that could be open to a medical negligence claim.

JM      Yes, and look unfortunately it is something that I see quite commonly maybe too often giving what I do for work. I am sure there are doctors saving lives but I get to see these sorts of scenarios that you have mentioned so we did speak about the angle and striking in Queensland because that is something obviously now come out of Adelaide. It is something that we see in NSW and I think it is a national issue. What makes this case a little bit more interesting than your average patient who is sitting in a waiting room for 7 hours is that it’s the way they are actually presented after being referred by her general practitioner, so her GP had made the diagnosis of acute appendicitis so I mean that’s what I have read in the newspaper but you would expect that she had been referred with an acute appendicitis diagnosis having already been made by the GP that she would have an urgent abdominal ultrasound and she had to wait another 2 hours for surgery after waiting 6 hours to be examined. Yeah, well you would think of that being an urgent abdominal ultrasound and that she should have the surgery fairly quickly, the appendectomy and these days it is often done laparoscopically by way of keyhole surgery, but what has been happening with this sort of case is that she would have needed surgery in any event because of the appendicitis itself, having said that it is a case of getting it in a timely manner before it actually ruptures is something that can be done by way of keyhole surgery which is less invasive and the recovery is much shorter but if she waited for the appendix to rupture and putting aside the trauma and the pain that she would have actually gone through, you know experiencing the rupture and everything that happened afterward but what happens then is you are likely to need an open surgery so it is a much bigger incision in the abdomen, it takes longer for recovery.

DK      Of course.

JM      And your looking into complications like infliction and peritonitis and all sorts of issues that then come up because once the appendix ruptured, you have got faecal matter that is going into the abdomen and it is not just faecal matter it will be instricted?? because it has already got the inflammation and the infection in the appendix, so this young girl could have gone in, had a laparoscopy, which is a few keyholes in the abdomen, she would have been on her way to recovery but then you have now got this complication which arguably was avoidable had she gone in, had an ultrasound, gone into an operating theatre and had this surgery done shortly after she had presented so I think the issue is as we have discussed previously is the understaffing but there needs to be some sort of a system in place where patients that present to the emergency department are actually assessed and classified quite quickly.

DK      And I mean most hospitals do go through that procedure but clearly it fell through the cracks if you are waiting on an ambulance for that long before you are even assessed then obviously that’s a right for some sort of a claim I would imagine. Now let’s get to some of these calls Joelle.  Seaver?? has called in. Hi Seaver.

C1       Hi there, thanks for taking my call.

DK      Thank you for calling in. What is your problem?

C1       I had back surgery L3/L5 fusion 3 to 4 years ago and I went and saw my surgeon last year and at that time he said that a couple of screws had come loose, that is not right.

DK      Yeah, so you would assume that if you have got back surgery and you have screws to hold you together and that may come loose, would that be the case of medical negligence Joelle?

JM      Yeah, look unfortunately it is not that black and white. It is something that is worth looking into so I am happy to have a chat to you, I am happy to have a look at the records but at the end of the day these things do happen, now whether or not it happened because someone hadn’t taken the necessary steps during the procedure or something that had happened after the procedure, it is really difficult to say at this stage but it is definitely worth having a look.

DK      You say on the line Seaver and we will get you in touch with Joelle and see if you investigate that further.

DK      Shell, what’s happened to you?

C2       Yeah, well I fell over on some milk in Coles in Campbelltown and they assisted me, you know the ladies that work there and they took me out to the bus stop.  Anyway instead of getting off at my bus stop near my house, I stayed on the bus until I got to the doctors surgery at Enmore. I told him I had fell over on the milk and I hurt my left hand side and the back of my hip and the lawyer said was OK even though the doctor didn’t even send me for x-rays or anything so they want me to go to their doctors on 11 May in the city and I was just wondering if I go all the way in there, will I have a case or not because my x-rays were ordered on the day that it happened.

DK      Oh, goodness.  Joelle?

JM      I can’t really comment on the assessment that her lawyers has been arranged, that is obviously something that is separate litigation but in relation to the GP and I think she says that he hasn’t referred her for an x-ray, it really depends on what the x-rays would have diagnosed so ultimately what diagnosis was made, did she fracture a limb, was there a break but also I really don’t know.

C2       No, I don’t think there was a break, I am just in pain everyday now because of the way I fell.

DK      Look, I reckon you should stay on the line Shell, because Joelle might be able to investigate your case a little bit further too, I mean you are already getting some sort of legal advice but if you want an expert, Turner Freeman are a good starting point so I will get you to stay on the line and we will see if we can get you some help offline. Matthew has called in, what’s happened with you Matthew?

C3       G’day Deborah and Joelle how are you today?

DK      Well thank you.

JM      Good thank you.         

C3       Well, it relates to my wife so just briefly she had a very painful tooth, she went to the dentist as a result that tooth was extracted. I think at the time she had been in quite some pain and went back to the dentist to try and get some relief for her. As a result of that and because there was no relief for a while we managed to get to a dental hospital. It turns out that part of the jaw where the extraction was part of the bone there had died and so they had to operate. But since that time we have we have done some further investigations but at the time the dentist was doing the extraction on my wife, the dentist had been suspended and was under some sort of investigation or something.

DK      Oh, Matthew that s awful, I feel for yourself and your wife, that’s terrible. Joelle, what can they do here?

JM      There are several things, so once I speak to him and his wife and he will be able to tell the name of the dentist, we could always check the registration if they are running restrictions on that particular dentist’s practice, the last thing that he or she is not allowed to do and of course whether the treatment that was provided to the wife was provided based on those restrictions, so yes, definitely something and I would be very happy to speak to him about and I will also need to speak to his wife because she will probably have a bit more information.

DK      Absolutely, and I have got this $100 voucher and I am going to send that out to you Matthew because I think this Westfield voucher from what you have been through already may be able to alleviate a bit of the suffering so far, but yes I will send you out this $100 voucher Matthew, you stay on the line, we will get your details and will see if Joelle can help you out further.  Simon, what was your question today for Joelle?

C4       Hi Joelle. Just a question in general really. In regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, and any possible injury with that, I mean we know that the pharmaceutical companies themselves have no personal liability but we are hearing more and more about reactions to the vaccine.

DK      It’s a valid questions because a lot of the GP’s were a bit unsure about administering the vaccine because of those lability issues.  Joelle, do you have an answer?

JM      Look, it really depends on whether or not at the time the patient had been informed. So if you have patient who goes into have a vaccine and the GP is able to say look, these have no side effects and the patient then can sense then that it is a different story. Having said that, it is just early days so we are probably going to see a lot of these sorts of scenarios come up as more people get the vaccine so, it is early days to really have a definite answer but I think we will see it all unfold over the next 12 months or so but consent is obviously a big think, whether it’s a vaccine or whether it’s a minor procedure or major surgery, the patient needs to know that are the side effects or complications before they have the vaccine and they just be prepared, but then again a GP can’t really give you advice on a risk that they don’t really know exists yet if that makes sense, so it is all going to probably unfold over the next 12 months or so and we will probably have a better idea of how it is all going to work.

DK      Yeah, good question though Simon I think a lot of people are wondering the same. Unfortunately the clock is against us, we are out of time, we will it there Joelle, thank you for much

JM      Pleasure

Joelle Matar there of Turner Freeman Lawyers – they provide a range of specialised legal services including compensation and negligence law, asbestos litigation, superannuation, disability claims, employment law, rules of estates and property law, a whole garnet of legal issues. They have you covered so if you want to get in touch with any of the lawyers at Turner Freeman, their website is the first port of all, or give them a bell on 13 43 63


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