Three different hospitals subject to "failure of diagnosis"

In our post of 3 September 2015, we reported the judgment in Wei Fan v South Western Sydney Local District, where a claim was made that three different hospitals were negligent for failing to diagnose acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), failing to investigate and manage his type 2 diabetes, allowing the plaintiff to fall out of the hospital bed and discharging him too early. He claimed that as a consequence he suffered very serious injuries including peripheral neuropathy, a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury.

The trial judge found that there was no negligence on part of the Local Health District and ordered the plaintiff to pay the defendant’s costs.

Wei Fan appealed the judgment and costs order submitting that there was a failure on part of the hospitals to recognise the gravity of his medical condition.

The plaintiff’s son, who is studying law, once again acted as an advocate for his father.

The Court of Appeal held that the evidence did not provide any support for the submissions by Mr Fan that there was failure to diagnose acute cholecystitis and diabetes or indeed peripheral neuropathy. Further the court determined that there was no evidence to support the assertion that the hospitals had failed to appreciate the significant weight loss claimed to be in the order of a 40% in a little over two months.

The appeal was dismissed and the appellant was ordered to pay the respondent’s costs.

Post by Karen Kumar and Cameron Leaver 

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