Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NUS in 2 new negligence lawsuits

The National University Hospital (NUH) after settling the issue of compensation in one negligence case, has now been hit with 2 new negligence lawsuits.

In the first case, the patient Derrick Peh was completely paralysed after surgery on his shoulder in 2006. He suffered a cardio-pulmonary collapse during the operation. He later died of pneumonia this year, some 3 years after the alleged negligence by NUS. It is likely that since the death took place quite a while after the surgery, issues of causation would be prominent in the case. His family would have to prove that the alleged negligence led to his death. In medical circles, it is well-known that immobility especially in elderly patients, often leads to death from respiratory diseases.

In the second case, the patient, who requested that her name not be mentioned (although her name can be found by any lawyer who is willing to pay for a court search), is suing for alleged mistakes in her cancer treatment. It is claimed that a needle was inserted into her heart and instead of her liver. This later resulted in her undergoing open heart surgery, as a result of which, she is unable to work. This writer expects that her claim would be for any permanent impairment in her lifestyle as well as for loss of income.

In both the above cases, the families are seeking $500,000 as damages.

NUH kidney transplant suit - appeal dropped

After losing a lawsuit in relation to a kidney transplant gone wrong which caused the death of Madam Narindar Kaur , National University Hospital (NUH) has dropped the appeal against the decision. The High Court decision in July this year had found 2 doctors not negligent but found the hospital guilty of negligence. However, the issue of damages was to be assessed later. This can be quite a tedious process as lawyers and the court estimate the life expectancy of the deceased and how much income the deceased person would have earned in the future, and this may also be painful for the family.

NUS had settled the issue of damages on confidential terms with Madam Kaur's family. It is likely that in return for the certainty of compensation and quick payment, they accepted less than what the court might have otherwise ordered. An appeal to the Court of Appeal from the High Court decision and the actual assessment of damages might have added 6 to 12 months to the date when payment of damages (if any) would have been made to the family.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NUH lawsuit won by patient and family

In July 2009, the High Court released its judgment in the case of the lawsuit concerning the death of kidney donor Narindar Kaur. She had died as a result of internal bleeding following an kidney transplant operation.

The court found that the 2 defendant doctors, Li Man Kay and David Consigliere, were not guilty of negligence as they had followed accepted practice. However, the National University Hospital was found to be negligent. This was because the Hospital had failed to monitor the deceased's medical condition to detect post-surgery complications. Unfortunately, a key witness, a Filipino nurse who could have shed light on what exactly happened during a critical period following the operation, returned to her home and was not available to testify in court.

As the court had decided on liability (that one of the defendants is liable), the next stage is quantum assessment - where the court will assess the damages payable to the family of the deceased.

As a result of the lawsuit, NUS now takes additional precautions - following surgery, all donor-patients are placed in a high dependency ward for 24 hours. There, all their vital signs are monitored continuously, before being sent to the general ward.