Goddard v Central Coast Health Network [2013] NSWSC 1932 was a claim following the death of a patient shortly after discharge from hospital following surgery to remove her gall bladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy). The plaintiffs sought damages under compensation to relatives legislation and for mental harm.

The cause of death was identified as a subcapsular haematoma on the lateral aspect of the right lobe of the liver. The factual findings and expert evidence were such that breach of duty of care was not proven.

If liability had been found, the trial judge would have reduced the damages to reflect contributory negligence for failing to seek medical advice once the patient’s condition deteriorated.