Amputee loses hospital negligence case

A KINGSCLIFF woman whose leg was amputated at Tweed Hospital has lost a bid to sue her doctor for negligence.

Lynne Smythe saw general practitioner Dr Zoe Burgman at Kingscliff Medical Centre in March 2011, complaining of pain in her left foot.

She was diagnosed with an infection and prescribed antibiotics.

Mrs Smythe returned a week later with an abscess on her foot and was prescribed another course of antibiotics, but the problem persisted.

She saw a different doctor on her next visit that referred her to Tweed Hospital where she was diagnosed with a blood clot in her leg.

A month later, her leg had to be amputated below the knee.

Mrs Smythe claimed damages from Dr Burgman, saying she had been negligent in failing to diagnose the condition that led to her losing a leg.

Supreme Court Justice Christine Adamson found Mrs Smythe to be an unreliable witness and did not accept her claim Dr Burgman had failed to measure pulses in her feet during one of the consultations.

"I am satisfied that the plaintiff described symptoms that did not appear until weeks later (late March and early April) and attributed them to her presentation in the two consultations with Dr Burgman in order to enhance her prospects of success in any eventual proceedings," Justice Adamson found.

"My impression of the plaintiff was that she had decided at an early stage that someone was to blame for what had occurred and wanted to obtain damages to salve the undoubted distress and anguish she has suffered as a result of the loss of her left leg."


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