Lex Medicus presentation at the National Conference of the ALA
Lex Medicus presentation at the National Conference of the Australian Lawyers Alliance
This year, Lex Medicus has continued not only as a key sponsoring partner but also an active participant to the National Conference of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA). Our Director, Mr Thomas Kossmann, was an invited speaker. The conference was held on 20-22 October 2016 in tropical Port Douglas at the Sheraton Mirage Resort. Over 150 delegates from across Australia attended.
As a community, the ALA is committed to human and civil rights. This year the program included a Keynote Address delivered by Professor Gillian Triggs, President, Human Rights Commission as well as talks on family violence by Paula Shelton, Senior Solicitor, Shine Lawyers (VIC) and contribution issues in personal injury cases by Emma Reilly, Partner, Moray & Agnew (ACT).
The presentation, delivered by Thomas Kossmann was entitled “Medical Negligence or God's Decision: View of an Orthopaedic Surgeon”, providing the perspective of a Medico-Legal Consultant on negligence cases to the legal community. The examples given included the methodologies of spine surgery and potential complications described in case studies as well as a complex pathology and detailed description of compartment syndrome. Mr Kossmann concluded his presentation with a negligence case he reported on recently regarding a client suffering from a severe form of compartment syndrome. This is a limb-threatening condition that if not treated promptly may lead to debilitating complications.
The presentation was light-hearted and triggered a genuine laughter among the audience but also provided a critical view on the controversy that complex client cases may offer to both the medical examiner asked to report on a negligence case and the assisting personal injury lawyer.
The key question is: When are the elements sufficient to prove a negligence case?
In synthesis, a true negligent medical malpractice needs to meet the following criteria:
1. Duty of care was owed by the physician
2. Physician violated the applicable standard of care
3. Person suffered a compensable injury
4. Injury was caused in fact and proximately caused by the substandard conduct
Given the high interest on compartment syndrome demonstrated by the stimulating discussion following the presentation at the ALA conference, we have included in our newsletter a comprehensive description of this serious illness.