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Inappropriate use of Gentamicin caused permanent damage | Our Client’s Story

Posted on 22nd May 2020
Catherine Henry Lawyers
Catherine Henry Lawyers

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Inappropriate use of Gentamicin

Catherine Henry Lawyers’ health law team has settled a claim for a large sum through mediation for a woman whose distinguished career was cut short due to permanent damage caused by hospital staff’s inappropriate use of Gentamicin.

What is Gentamicin?

Gentamicin is a powerful antibiotic for fighting infection that belongs to a class of drugs called aminoglycosides. Its devastating side effects are well known to medical professionals, which include being toxic to the ear and destructive to the kidneys.

Our client shouldn’t have been given Gentamicin

Our client was in a Canberra hospital for a routine procedure to remove a ureteric stent. There was no evidence of sepsis or infection to justify giving her Gentamicin.

Some urologists justify the use of Gentamicin because a urinary tract infection may include gram negative bacteria which can be resistant to several classes of antibiotics. Our client was already taking oral antibiotics which meant intravenous antibiotics were unnecessary in any case.

A distinguished career cut short

The Gentamicin caused our client to suffer from ototoxicity. The symptoms of ototoxicity are devastating and largely irreversible.

Our client suffered permanent damage to the sensory undertakings of the inner ear which control spatial orientation and balance.

Our client was an enrolled nurse and active member of the community who devoted her personal and professional life to helping others. In her own time, she generously volunteered with community organisations helping the less fortunate. She is no longer able to work or care for others in the personal or professional capacity she once enjoyed.

Our case for compensation

The main issues for the court were whether the choice of Gentamicin was appropriate and whether the hospital breached the duty of care owed to our client, their patient.

The hospital defended its choice to administer Gentamicin because of our client’s history with urinary tract infections.

But we argued that many medical professionals have concluded that there is no safe dosage for the drug, and its use for her small procedure was misguided.

We provided independent expert opinion that there were safer and equally effective alternative antibiotics the hospital should have used.

The effects of Gentamicin are heightened when the body is dehydrated. As directed by the hospital, our client was fasting twelve hours prior to the procedure with no food or liquid. Hospital staff should have been aware of the enhanced risk posed to our client.

We also showed that the hospital failed in its duty of care to disclose and explain the risks of the Gentamicin to our client prior to the procedure.

Let us fight for you or your loved one

If you or a loved one have experienced the negative impacts of Gentamicin or poor medical treatment at the hands of a medical practitioner, please get in touch with one of our caring, expert, health lawyers about the options available to you.

Taking legal action can also help change health care practices and hold health care professionals to account so other people do not to have experience what you went through.

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