Case Vignette – December 2020

Case Vignette – December 2020

When I was a Young Fella

When I was a year 12 high school student, I was involved in a motor cycle accident. It happened during the course of the year 12 examinations and I had to rely upon a year 11 scribe to complete the chemistry and mathematics 2 examinations on my behalf. Theoretically, I was advising him from my hospital bed but in reality, he was the star performer. I remain ever grateful to him.

I sustained fractures involving my tibia and fibula, my distal femur and my pelvis. My convalescence was complicated by a pulmonary thromboembolic event.

As is usual, a third-party personal injury claim was made and two senior Brisbane orthopaedic surgeons proffered opinions for the Court. Both surgeons accurately identified the problems that had been sustained at the time of the accident. Unfortunately, neither surgeon gave much thought to the long-term effects that I would eventually witness five or more decades later.

I have since undergone two joint replacements, a joint fusion and a spinal fusion. I have had further pulmonary thromboembolic complications.

Whilst neither orthopaedic surgeon had a crystal ball, these types of sequelae are foreseeable.

I suggest that when you are engaging an orthopaedic surgeon to report on your client, you ensure that he or she takes into account the long-term adverse effects that may accrue.