Hospital accused of negligence

This article was published in The Shepparton News on July 18, 2012.

A northern Victorian man is suing Goulburn Valley Health after he says his wife died due to medical negligence at Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Base Hospital.

Jerry Brown-Sarre, from Euroa, has filed a statement of claim in the Victorian County Court against Goulburn Valley Health for damages and compensation after his wife Margaret Leah Brown, 72, died on September 16, 2009.

The writ says Mrs Brown was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis on August 21, 2009 and transferred to the intensive care unit on August 25.

The writ alleges Mrs Brown’s left lung collapsed and she went into cardiac arrest after an ICU medical officer inserted a central venous catheter into her chest without ultrasound guidance or supervision.

An arterial line was then inserted into the femoral artery in Mrs Brown’s left leg, which damaged the vein and caused a blood clot, the claim alleges.

Mrs Brown was transferred to Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital after 22 hours, where doctors considered her leg could not be saved and it was amputated.

But Mrs Brown’s condition deteriorated — she had blood poisoning and multi-organ failure, and died 20 days later, the claim says.

Mr Brown-Sarre, 70, said before she died he promised his wife justice.

He claims her death caused him severe depressive disorder, bereavement and pain and suffering.

‘‘I’m extremely concerned that this hospital cannot handle the complexity of cases such as Margaret’s and if they’re not equipped to do the work, they should be more open about getting people to the experts that can manage more difficult tasks,’’ Mr Brown-Sarre said.

‘‘Margaret should never have died as a result of going in to this hospital.

‘‘I contend that had Margaret been transferred to a tertiary hospital for rectification surgery when the mistakes were made and noticed then she would not have required amputation of the leg and she would not have died.’’

GV Health did not respond at the time The News went to print.

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