How often does medical negligence occur in Queensland?

Published 28 Jun 2017

Medical practitioners are well respected in Australia, and they often work tirelessly to ensure patients receive the best possible care under their watch.

In fact, Roy Morgan Research found that nurses, doctors and pharmacists were the top three most trusted professionals in a 2016 survey. Nurses have topped the list for 22 years in a row.

However, not everything goes according to plan and mistakes can happen that lead to serious injuries and even deaths. These incidents won’t always be the result of negligence, but compensation is available for patients in Queensland who feel their treatment fell below an acceptable standard of care.

But how often does medical negligence occur in Queensland? Let’s take a look at some of the official statistics.

Medical negligence claims in QLD

A recent report from the Productivity Commission revealed there were 10 ‘sentinel events’ in public hospitals across Queensland in 2014-15. The term refers to instances where a hospital system or process deficiency results in death or serious harm to a patient.

According to ABC News, Queensland reported 47 sentinel events between 2010 and 2015, including operations on the wrong body parts, medication-dispensing errors and surgical instruments being left inside patients.

Overall, Queensland had the third-highest number of sentinel events in 2014-15, with NSW topping the list at 50. Victoria reported 19 incidents, while Tasmania was the only state in the study where zero cases of medical negligence were recorded.

These figures do not include instances of medical negligence that happen when patients receive private treatment.

How to make a medical negligence claim

As we can see, medical negligence is rare and the claim-making process can be complex. You should therefore always contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Queensland before pursuing compensation.

Successful claims must typically show that the medical practitioner owed you a duty of care and that this obligation was breached through negligent behaviour. Causation is also key; the negligent act must have demonstrably led to the injury in question.

Your evidence must indicate that the care you received fell below the standards of other medical practitioners if they were in the same position.

If you win, you can receive compensation for:

  • Lost income and superannuation;
  • Care and treatment, both past and future;
  • Domestic assistance and medical aids expenses; and
  • Non-economic costs, such as pain and suffering.

Would you like to know more about medical negligence claims in Queensland? Please contact a member of the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

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