Teen to Receive over $97,000 for Unnecessary Surgery Leading to Extreme Pain and Scars

By : Subscribe to Arlene's | May 1, 2012 12:34 PM IST

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A 14-year-old girl has been awarded over $97,000 as compensation for an unnecessary surgery a doctor ordered when she was six years old, The Canberra Times reported.

The girl sued the ACT government and a sports medicine physician for compensation after the surgeries led to extreme pain and permanent scars on one of her arms. However, both the ACT government and the doctor admitted negligence before their case was taken to a trial.

In a judgment published on Friday, Supreme Court Master David Harper said the girl should receive $97,596 for the manner in which her fractured arm was attended to after it got deformed.

The girl fractured her left arm when she fell off a chair at home in mid-December 2003; she was six years old at the time.

She was brought to Canberra Hospital where her arm was examined with X-ray and was subsequently placed in a plaster slab. A month later, she saw John Kellett, a sports medicine doctor.

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Dr Kellett saw with another X-ray exam that her forearm had been deformed on a 30-degree angle, which was known as the "banana arm."

Dr Kellett then referred the girl's parents to an orthopaedic surgeon at John James Memorial Hospital, who eventually corrected the deformity with screws and plates to stabilise the fracture in February 2004.

The inserted screws and plates had brought excruciating pain to the young girl for some time. She saw her surgeon repeatedly in the months after the operation until September, when she was admitted again for another operation to remove the screws and plates.

The girl had complained of muscle wasting in her arm and noticeable scars which remained until after a year later.

After suing the government and Dr Kellett, it was agreed she should have undergone a ''closed reduction'' procedure.

Master Harper concluded the girl had been ''subjected to what should have been unnecessary surgery and hospitalisation, with consequent pain and interference with her normal life.''

However, Master Harper ruled the girl could only receive damages from the first operation, which was done in February 2004 to correct her arm's deformity.

Master Harper lauded the government and Dr Kellett for admitting liability in the complaint.

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