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Who’s going to deliver the babies after you’ve sued all the doctors?

By johnboy 29 July 2008 51

[First filed: July 16, 2008 @ 07:50]

The Canberra Times is reporting on the law suit running against Dr Graeme Bates for his work delivering a baby with cerebral palsy 30 years ago:

    “Graeme Bates was working at Woden Valley Hospital in 1979 when was called on to deliver Kris Paul Grimmett, now 29.

    Mr Grimmett brought an action against Dr Bates in 2000, and the matter came before Justice Terry Connolly last year.

    Mr Grimmett’s lawyers had just closed their case when Justice Connolly died suddenly, and the case was postponed.”

I don’t doubt that Kris Paul Grimmett’s walked a hard road, but dragging long retired doctors into court (now having to represent himself) to try and explain why they did what they did so long ago doesn’t strike me as a great outcome.

UPDATED: Reports coming through that Dr Bates has won with the Government agreeing to pick up the plaintiff’s costs in exchange for calling off the whole sorry matter.

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51 Responses to
Who’s going to deliver the babies after you’ve sued all the doctors?
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sepi 9:44 pm 29 Jul 08

I think this case has now been settled out of court.

bd84 8:55 pm 29 Jul 08

The Government shouldn’t be paying using our money, the filthy lawyer who tried to put the case forward in the first place should be required to pay costs.

Thumper 3:33 pm 18 Jul 08

Who the hell would want to be an obstetrician if this case succeeds?

Excellent point, and with a loss of obstetricians we will probably see more deaths at birth.

A sad case all round.

Jamie Wheeler 3:28 pm 18 Jul 08

hyperd, you should watch your words declaring Dr Bates is a malpracticing doctor. Do you have a specialist medical degree with experience making you an expert in obstetrics and medicine as was practiced back in 1979? Do you have the medical knowlege to know this tragic outcome could have been prevented by a different course of medical action?

It’s best not make make such comments against a doctor on a matter before a court. Dr Bates is still very much in business and deserves the right to defend himself and his reputation.

Your friend has no doubt suffered greatly, however it’s hard to go past the fact he waited 21 years to launch his lawsuit. If negligence was so clear cut as you claim why did his parents not launched action immediately? The matter could be now settled and all parties could move on without the mess of sorting out the facts from 30 years ago.

DJ 7:20 pm 17 Jul 08

hyperd, while I respect your right to voice your opinion I must say it appears that you only have one eye open here. Back your mate to the hilt of course but to suggest malpractice (unless you are qualified to justify your comments) is pointless and slander?

Always call your mates Mr.?

hyperd 6:28 pm 17 Jul 08

I know Mr Grimmett personally and can say he is quite a guy considering his disability. He is funny, has a degree in I.T. and is a good friend of mine.

Many people who have posted their comments against him fail to know the true and honest facts which the papers fail to see. I’m not willing to comment on anything that could influent his case or cloud his circumstance other than I have known him for over 19 years and can honestly say he deserves every cent of compensation considering what he has been through since birth and the crap he has endured from doctors throughout this ordeal.

People are always judgmental in the negative when it happens to others, but when it happens to them ohh nooo!! People need to lay off, mind their own business and let people who truly deserve compensation go about it in their own way. I agree with H 100% because I know Kris abd he sure as hell deserves it.

Go Get Em Kris! Give em hell mate and when you get your rewards, i’ll toast to you over a few cold ones in your effort to wipe the floor with this malpracticing doctor.

Jamie Wheeler 5:33 pm 17 Jul 08

Just to correct the original post by johnboy, Dr Graeme Bates is not retired. He is still practicing today with many years of experience behind him. The man has practiced in Canberra since the 70s and would have delivered thousands of babies. He is probably one of the most experienced in Canberra.

Dr Bates only recently delivered our beautiful new baby and did an outstanding job. I could not speak more highly of the man and the excellent standard of care he gave to both my wife and baby. We had a very difficult pregnancy and our baby was probably lucky to survive being born. The experience and wisdom of Dr Bates most likely saved our baby.

I was sad to learn Dr Bates is being sued for a birth way back in 1979. While I feel for Mr Grimett, waiting 21 years until 2000 to drag a doctor into court doesn’t help anybody. How is the court supposed to work out what really happened now almost 30 years on? Medical knowledge, practice and technology has developed so much over three decades. How can a doctor be judged today for his actions in a different place and different time with different standards, equipment etc etc?

I don’t know the details of this case but I hope it fails. It’s simply outrageous to wait two decades to bring this case to court. There really should be a time limit on such matters. If there truly was negligence, sue immediately and get it done with while the memories of all involved are still fresh and paperwork/records readily available.

Childbirth is simply a high risk activity. Mothers and babies die every day all over the world despite top medical care. This can always happen regardless of technology and having the best doctor in the world. Unless there is true negligence Dr Patel style, why must there always be somebody to blame?

Who the hell would want to be an obstetrician if this case succeeds?

smiling politely 12:36 pm 17 Jul 08

peterh – thanks for sharing that highly personal experience. Same for a few others. It’s a really difficult area of life to talk about isn’t it? After my wife had a miscarriage I spoke openly about it with friends, family and even work colleagues, as I sort of wanted to “normalise” the experience – I think the stat is something like one in three pregnancies don’t go to term.

With the birth of our child at six weeks early, while it was all happening the staff, and especially the obstetrician, made every effort to explain to us in plain, rational terms what was happening and why, and what the options and consequences were.

Which was just what we needed, and in contrast to something I’m experiencing now (and as alluded to by Morgan at comment #32) where it feels like you have to interrogate a specialist practitioner in order to get the information you need to deal with a condition. So you’re not always going to be lucky enough to get what you feel you need and have to take a little responsibility – where you can and are able – to communicate with the staff you’re dealing with. Hope that sorta makes sense.

peterh 11:07 am 17 Jul 08

tylersmayhem said :

I agree with Headbonius. If it wasn’t for an experienced doctor at my birth, I may not be here today. My mum had all kinds of complications giving birth to me. As a mid-wife herself, she’s always maintained that midwives deal with all the guts and doctors get all the glory – but she also says that in times of emergency and complications, that’s when the doctors earn every cent of their income.

I have to agree, I was born in Elizabeth Vale SA in 1971, 2 mths premature, and so small i fit in my father’s hand. My mother almost died from blood loss, and my heart was restarted twice. I am now 6ft tall, and feel as strong and fit as a mallee bull.

My wife and i went through IVF, dr armellin was the doctor that gave us our 3 great kids, and Liz Gallagher delivered all of them for us.
My daughter was born, then we lost our next pregnancy, a little boy, we were told, at 13 weeks – his heart stopped. (but not due to medical reasons, it was a natural failure) The support that the doctors, nurses and general staff that we had to deal with gave us at both JJMH & TCH was very much appreciated.

then came the twins. These little boys were so tiny, both went blue with fluid in their lungs, and the midwives rushed them to get suction and oxygen.

I sat in the delivery suite with my wife, who was getting emergency plasma to try and stem her blood loss. she was attended all the way through this worrying time.

The professional manner that the doctors and nursing staff showed comforted me. I was told to expect the worst, as she had lost a lot of blood, and she was starting to go white and cold and pale. I held her hand and waited for the inevitable.

she started getting color back only after i requested that one of our sons be given to me to show her.

This seemed to give her the energy to hang on.

If she had died in the course of childbirth, how was it the medical profession’s fault? if the births had been beside the road, would I have sued the council?

Whatsup 9:31 am 17 Jul 08

I have a close friend who’s baby was stillborn. Some medical professionals made some clear errors that contributed to the death of the child. My friend has stated that nothing can change the outcome so legal action will just cause more grief to her family. Her precious little boy can rest in peace.

DJ 9:03 am 17 Jul 08

tylersmayhem said :

Hi DJ, just to clarify – while I realise Australian lenders not offer “sub-prime” loans (that I am aware of), a recession is quite different. It not a matter of saying “mericans say “sub-prime mortgage”, Australians say “recession”.” Mind you, the effect is often quite similar when a sub-prime fuelled crisis hits as it has in the US.

Not trying to be a smart a$$. just clarifying. Cheers

No problem – I was just trying to say that if their market crashes we get pulled into the inky blackness of a recession as a result…

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