Husband awarded $246,000 for wife's death by negligence at KL hospital

Husband awarded $246,000 for wife's death by negligence at KL hospital
File photo of Hospital KL.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - The husband of the former assistant director of Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) has been awarded RM735,596 (S$246,392) damages for the death by negligence of his wife four years ago - at HKL itself.

Datuk Stanley Isaacs, the former head of prosecution at the Attorney-General's Chambers, was awarded RM500,000 in aggravated damages and RM140,000 in general damages by Judicial Commissioner Aliza Sulaiman of the High Court here.

The 13 defendants named in Stanley's suit, which was filed on May 31, 2016 were the Government, nine doctors and three Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) nurses.

They had all admitted liability on April 5.

The medical officer and the second defendant had refused to consider the diagnosis of septic arthritis made at the Tropicana Medical Centre, said the statement.

It added that a "false defence" was made up, supported by intentionally delayed and embellished entries in the medical records "to pull wool over the eyes of justice".

It said the incident was avoidable if not for the conduct of the defendants, especially the second defendant, Sivalingam Raja Gopal.

In the statement of claim, Stanley said his wife was a registered medical practitioner and upon the deceased's request, she was referred to HKL after a provisional diagnosis of septic arthritis in her right ankle.

He said she was conscious on arrival at HKL but became critically ill later, adding that his wife was in a semi-conscious state on the morning of Dec 21 2014 after a night of severe headache and vomiting.

Stanley said the deceased was transferred to intensive care at 8.50pm that day and was intubated and ventilated, adding that her condition continued to deteriorate until she died at 11.05pm on Dec 25.

The general damages include RM100,000 for pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life, RM30,000 for maintenance of his mother and RM10,000 for statutory bereavement.

JC Aliza also awarded the plaintiff with 95,596.17 for special damages which included among others, RM52,528 for funeral and prayer expenses and RM4,068.17 for memorial service expenses.

She also granted the liability and quantum proceedings costs of RM120,000.

The hearing of the quantum of damages was heard on May 23 this year where two witnesses including Stanley had testified and the court heard oral submissions from both parties on June 21.

On April 5, the Admission of Liability statement was read out by Stanley's lawyer Manmohan Singh Dhillion. Senior Federal Counsel Nurhafizzza Azizan, who acted for the 13 defendants, confirmed they would not contest the matter.

Met after the decision, Stanley said he and his family were relieved that the court proceedings has been concluded.

"I am grateful to the Court for the award of damages even though i did not commence this action against the hospital and the doctors concerned for the money.

"My loss and equally that of her family cannot be compensated with money. I am grateful to the Government for not contesting my suit on liability and thus saved me the pain of proving the liability of the doctors concerned," he said.

He said it was greatly troubling to him that the hospital where she had served as a doctor for a long time had failed to handle her condition with the most obvious urgency and action that was required during admission.

"The intention of this action was to send a message to the Hospital concerned and to hospitals and doctors generally that every life in their hands deserves their unstinting professionalism," he added.

Meanwhile, Manmohan said JC Aliza took into account the misconduct of the doctors treating the late Dr Suzanne, adding that the judge also considered the contributions of the deceased to her mother.

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