Dr., No – That Treatment Wasn’t Necessary

By Kate Williams – Medical Law Consultant

In the last ten years a number of medical negligence cases have been brought that allege the medical treatment recommended by a doctor was unnecessary. Unnecessary as the patient’s medical condition did not :

  • Warrant the recommended treatment ;
  • Require surgery as a misdiagnosis was made of the presenting symptoms and
  • Require a medical procedure and upsellling of an elective procedure was represented to the patient as necessary.

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Fatal Failure to Inspect Truck Tyre

Yadvinder Singh, a 30 year-old truck driver, was hired by ‘Destination Anywhere’ to haul aggregate materials from ‘Granite Construction Co’ to a construction site. Mr Singh drove his dump truck to Granite Construction where an employee loaded it with washed sand. As Mr Singh drove the truck toward its destination, it’s right front tyre suffered a blowout, causing the truck to leave the road and overturn. Read more »

American Awards: No Concussion Protocol = Large Settlement

The Plaintiff, a 14 year old boy played football at Monte Vista High School. During the game, a teammate notified a coach that the Plaintiff did not seem right. Despite the report being made and the Plaintiff’s irregular behaviour, the Coaches kept the Plaintiff on the field. Afterwards, a Coach asked the Plaintiff whether he was alright, and he received a response that he was, however he later began to vomit and then collapsed near the locker room.

The Plaintiff was rushed to the hospital after his parents were called. At the hospital, the Plaintiff underwent a craniotomy (surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull) to reduce brain swelling. Following the incident, the Plaintiff suffers from a severe Traumatic Brain Injury limiting his education, work prospects and prevents him from living independently. The Plaintiff sued the school district, and alleged it failed to properly train its coaches on concussion protocol and failed to ensure the Coaches timely completed state-mandated concussion training.

Another allegation in the claim was that the Defendant failed to obtain medical care for the Plaintiff, identify his head injury, or have medical personnel at the game. The Plaintiff also sued the football helmet manufacturer.

The manufacturer settled confidentially before the trial. The jury awarded approximately $7.13 Million against the School District.

Source: ‘Trial’ Magazine, September 2018, American Association for Justice, Page 14.

Trees, Fences & Neighborly Friction

Trees, noise and fences. Kids and pets. Dust, water and building sites. Just a few examples in the long list of nuisances that give rise to neighborhood complaints. And historically they have been an issue for a very long time. 

But what can you do if a friendly approach is rejected or apparently ignored? What are your rights? 


Trees have been a problem ever since the apple tree in the Garden of Eden. Rotting fruit, fallen leaves or limbs, excessive shade, intrusive roots just to name a few. Whilst sometimes local Council requirements may be of assistance, the common law remedy of “private nuisance” may provide an answer. 

A private nuisance occurs whenever your neighbor does something on their property which unreasonably interferes with your “quiet enjoyment” of your land. Overhanging trees that are not kept properly pruned; or have roots that tend to grow onto your property and damage water pipes or even foundations, can cause expensive repair bills. Private nuisance can allow a compensation claim to be made in these circumstances. 

The tree owner is meant to properly maintain their tree and to use some caution when planting invasive species near a property boundary. However, if they don’t, and you get tired of asking, the law has allowed a neighbor to resort to self-help (called “replevin”). Sawing off the offending branches or digging out the invasive roots yourself might be an option. But if you do, beware. The common law does not permit compensation in addition to self-help remedies. If the invasive roots have damaged your foundations this could prove expensive! 


Just like Ancient Rome, no fence can last forever. Rust, rot or unfortunately termites are the traditional enemy of the suburban backyard fence. Most neighbors sort it out over a chat over – or in this case through – the proverbial. It might be agreed to postpone the repair work until finances permit. But sooner or later a new neighbor may want the job to be done. 

When a neighbor is concerned about the state of repair of a dividing fence or wants a fence constructed where there has never been one before, they will need to provide a quote and a “fencing notice” before any formal action can be taken. 

The Magistrates Court in Vic and the Local Court in NSW will then deal with any disputes concerning the cost of building or repairing dividing fences. 

The obligation of the neighbors under State legislation are to share equally the cost of a reasonable fence or to repair the fence to the existing standard. If one wants to replace the existing fence with a grander affair, they cannot oblige the other to contribute more than is reasonable in the circumstances. 

This does not apply where a perfectly good fence has been damaged by say a falling limb or a straying car. In that situation the party at fault should pay 100% of the cost of the repair.

We Are Moving!

After a short stint in the Gardens Medical Centre, Don Cameron & Associates (As part of Adams Leyland Chambers) will be moving to new offices in Albury as well as opening a new office in Wodonga.

From the 1st of April 2019, our new location will be at 465 Smollett Street Albury, and the Wodonga office will be located at 69 Hovell Street Wodonga.

We will be having some small celebrations at the new location and we invite you down for a (complimentary) cup of coffee on the 1st April at 465 Smollett Street.

Injured Workers Get New Rights From 1 January 2019

Recent changes to the Workers Compensation laws in NSW are breathing some new life into workers rights and benefits starting from the 1st January 2019. The amendments allow all workers to access free legal assistance to challenge decisions made by Insurer’s about their capacity for work (called a Work Capacity Decision) or under-payments and miscalculations of their wages (often called PIAWE disputes). Read more »

Your Consumer Rights (Part 1)

Compared to many other countries, consumers in Australia are quite fortunate and enjoy many protections thanks to what is called “The Australian Consumer Law”.This series will set out some of the most relevant consumer protections in this part 1 and then explore them in further detail in later parts.

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Trial by (Social) Media

There is no doubt that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) have revolutionised how we obtain our information, but a new recent Australian Court decisions serve as a timely reminder that electronic media is not immune from the usual laws relating to Defamation. Read more »

Saying “Sorry” – Helpful, Not Harmful.

Adverse medical outcomes, preventable or otherwise are a reality of medical care. Most importantly, adverse events impact patients – but they also impact healthcare practitioners.

Disclosing information about adverse events has benefits for the patient and the hospital staff and it can often strengthen the patient doctor relationship and promotes trust. Trust is paramount in all workplaces. After an adverse outcome, patients expect and want timely and full disclosure of the event. Acknowledgement of responsibility, understanding of what happened, expressions of sympathy and a discussion of what is being done to prevent re-occurrence.

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Is Surgery Always The Best Option?

On 26 November 2018 after reading the ABC investigative piece concerning the Impact of Defective Medical Devices in Australia, I posted on Don Cameron and Associates website the following comment:

“…The scale and nature of adverse medical outcomes that Australians have suffered who have received medical devices to “treat” medical and surgical conditions has been exposed by the ABC.

Medical device manufacturers have manipulated data and clinical trial results for over 30 years. Misleading information has been provided to the health profession and in turn patients have been advised falsely as to the efficacy and safety of the products.

Unfortunately there have been many doctors who have been genuinely mislead by medical manufactures, others have just ignored the reality that these products are dangerous and placed patients safety at jeopardy. A small percentage of such doctors have received pecuniary benefits from the medical manufacturers…”

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