Fremantle Hospital failed in its treatment

A WILLETTON man who suffered life-threatening health complications after a hospital failed to properly treat his abdominal sepsis has won his bid for compensation in the District Court.

Darren Westcott took legal action against the State Government, claiming Fremantle Hospital took three days to treat his appendicitis. The court found in his favour on October 23.

Mr Westcott said the delay caused him significant health complications, including respiratory failure, a deep wound infection, an incisional hernia and a pulmonary embolism.

“I went to a doctor with lower abdominal pain and the doctor made a possible diagnosis of diverticular disease,” he said. “I was given antibiotics and pain medication, and sent home.”

Mr Westcott said when he returned home, he continued to feel worse and his wife Tanya had to call an ambulance.

“They took heaps of tests over the next few days but I just kept getting worse,” he said. “Then all of a sudden I’m being rushed into surgery and I don’t remember much else at that point.”

Mr Westcott said since the 2009 incident, several more hospital admissions were required and the complicated recovery left him with ongoing physical and psychological injuries, affecting his ability to run the family business.

“It’s been such a hard road and now it looks like I won’t be able to work again,” he said. “I’m glad the case is over, and Tanya and I can put this whole ordeal behind us and focus on my recovery.”

Slater and Gordon medical lawyer Karina Hafford said she was pleased he would be compensated for his medical expenses and lost earnings.

“Fremantle Hospital had a duty of reasonable care to properly monitor and investigate Mr Westcott’s symptoms and correctly diagnose his medical condition,” she said. “But the hospital failed to treat him properly, even when his health deteriorated, which can only be described as negligent.”

Health Minister Kim Hames said Fremantle Hospital had acknowledged the decision and would take time to appropriately consider the judgment.

“In spite of the judgment, I believe Fremantle Hospital continues to provide high-quality patient care to the thousands of West Australians who access health services at the hospital every day,” he said.