Case summary | Assessing damages following surgery

by | Jul 1, 2020 | Health Blog

A plaintiff was awarded nearly $450,000 for negligently performed ear surgery which left him with facial paralysis, hearing loss and a compromised cornea.

The plaintiff suffered from a cholesteatoma, a benign recurring tumour which required surgical removal and underwent a series of surgeries on his right ear performed by Dr Roland von Marburg, an ear, nose and throat surgeon between 2005 and 2008.

The Court found that during the 2008 surgery, Dr von Marburg damaged the plaintiff’s semicircular canal and facial nerve and/or avulsed the plaintiff stapes with subsequent damages to the plaintiff’s facial nerves.

The assessment of damages took into account the plaintiff’s permanent impairments, which included facial paralysis, hearing loss and corneal injury and the likelihood that these impairments would increase over time.

Although the plaintiff was in full-time employment in the construction industry at the time of the hearing, the Court took into account the greater difficulties the Plaintiff would face in obtaining further employment should he lose his current position and awarded him a sum of $100,000 as an allowance against that risk.

Dr von Marburg did not participate in proceedings, although a letter from RSM Australia Partners to the Court advised that Dr Marburg was in the process of applying for bankruptcy.

The case Vlaming v von Marburg [2020] VSC 340 can be read here.

Prue Campbell

Prue Campbell