Cardiology investigations; Stroke

Rothonis v Lattimore [2016]NSWSC 1409 saw a judgment yesterday in a claim alleging that the plaintiff was referred to the defendant, a cardiologist, for investigation of possible involvement of her heart in neurological symptoms which she had recently experienced. She alleged a failure to carry out sufficient investigations and failure to diagnose or to prescribe treatment for a patent foramen ovale (“PFO”). That is, an opening through the interatrial septum, being the membrane dividing the left and right upper chambers of her heart.

The plaintiff later suffered a stroke which left her significantly disabled. The plaintiff claimed damages for alleged negligence upon the ground that the defendant failed to identify the PFO in September 2006 and allowed it to go untreated and to cause the stroke.

The claim gave rise to a judgment for the defendant as there was no breach of duty found. It was not necessary to apply the section 5O defence. Causation evidence did not exceed support for the loss of a chance.

Non economic loss was notionally assessed at 70%.

With thanks to Tim Hackett, barrister, for noting this decision.

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