LHD News

LHD Lawyers Helps Woman Win $755K for Botched Haemorrhoid Surgery

By LHD Lawyers

For Ann Marise Garling, what should have been a routine haemorrhoid surgery turned into an ordeal that resulted in years of pain, suffering, and even a second major procedure.=

LHD Lawyers, a firm specialising in personal injury litigation, helped her secure compensation for her pain and suffering – amounting to over $755,000.

Garling’s nightmare began when she underwent surgery to have haemorrhoids removed from her anal canal. A haemorrhoid is a painful, swollen vein. In some cases, they can be treated topically, while in others – like Garling’s – they must be cut out. After the excision, the resulting gaps in the anal tissue are stapled together to help them heal.

During her surgery, however, Garling’s physician – Dr. Tony Patinoitis, a surgeon at Hobart Obesity Surgery Centre in Tasmania – placed the staples in the wrong location in her anal canal. This act of medical negligence, Garling and her legal team alleged, caused the nerves in the area to become permanently damaged and ultimately caused Garling to suffer agonising pain, mental health problems, and further exacerbation of her condition.

Garling’s pain was particularly acute during defecation, which was difficult and hampered by constipation. To remedy this, another physician recommended she undergo surgery to install a loop ileostomy, which is an external abdominal pouch for waste collection.

Now living with a stoma bag, Garling felt embarrassed by her new condition as well as for having to use incontinence pads. She was also forced, at times, to socially isolate herself due to her declining health problems. Combined, these issues affected her relationships and even stopped her from returning to work.

In 2019, with the help of LHD Lawyers, Garling filed a lawsuit against Dr. Patinoitis, claiming medical negligence. Patinoitis’s lawyers argued that the deterioration of Garling’s health was simply a natural progression of her pre-existing condition and that the haemorrhoid surgery was not linked to her subsequent suffering in any way.

After taking in the evidence put forth by Stephen Morgan (Special Counsel at LHD Lawyers), however, the Supreme Court Justice overseeing the case, Michael Brett, thought otherwise.

“I am satisfied,” Brett said in his decision in Garling’s favour, “on the balance of probabilities that the breach, that is the placement of the staple line over the dentate line, which necessarily involved staples placed low in the anal canal… is the cause of the nerve damage.”

In a bigger blow to the defense, Brett also stated that the “significant aggravation” of Garling’s struggles with bowel function that occurred as a result of the surgery did lead to her needing to undergo corrective surgeries such as the loop ileostomy.

At the end of the trial, which concluded in 2022, Brett awarded Garling $755,475 – three-quarters of a million dollars – in damages. Of that, $75,000 covered pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The case has received significant media coverage, highlighting the public interest in medical negligence and patient rights. Publications such as The Norwest Star, The Daily Mail (Australia) and The Canberra Times have reported on the case, bringing attention to Garling’s plight and the importance of accountability in medical practices.

Garling’s success in winning such a complicated medical negligence case highlights the expertise of LHD Lawyers. The firm’s extensive experience in personal injury cases has enabled them to assist individuals like Ann Marise Garling in getting the compensation they desperately need and deserve.

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