Patient sues Moranbah doctor after suffering stroke
A PATIENT of Moranbah Medical Centre is suing for $3 million after she suffered an allergic reaction which allegedly led to a stroke, leaving her unable to work.
The woman, now 46, who we have chosen not to name, has filed a lawsuit against general medical practitioner Margaret Swenson.
The documents filed to the Rockhampton Supreme Court detailed the patient's versions of events leading up to the stroke.
Background information detailed the patient had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic Avelon in 2007.
In February 2014 the patient presented to the Moranbah Medical Centre with symptoms of muscle pain in her back and spasms in her abdomen.
In the court documents the patient claims she advised the doctor she could not take antibiotics due to her allergic reaction in 2007 and was allergic to penicillin and sulphur.
It is claimed pathology results revealed the patient had an infection and she was prescribed antibiotics Norfloxacin.
The dose of the drug allegedly made the patient feel burning itching all over her body and she later attended Mackay Hospital for treatment.
Symptoms persisted, in addition to developing sensitivity to light, so the patient presented back to Moranbah Medical Centre where she was seen by another doctor and prescribed Phenergan.
On another appointment in March, she was allegedly prescribed an antihistamine.
According to the claim the patient continued to suffer from the symptoms until January 2017 when she suffered mini stroke attacks as well as a stroke.
The patient claims the allergic reaction to Norfloxacin, as prescribed by GP Swenson, was a contributing factor or cause of the stroke and cerebral vasculitis.
The stroke created weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, loss of vision and short-term memory loss, the court documents allege.
It is also claimed the prescription of Norfloxacin has caused symptoms of photophobia, a sensitivity to radiation, sunlight, fluorescent light or other light and skin itchiness which tends to develop into hives and welts.
It is claimed in the court documents that, as a GP, Swenson had a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill for the patient.
It is claimed she should not have prescribed the antibiotics until the identity of the drug for the previous allergic reaction in 2007 was determined.
It is noted that had the GP investigated Avelon, it would have been revealed that is contained Moxifloxacin and Norfloxacin (the new antibiotic prescribed in 2014) and Moxifloxacin.
Slater and Gordon medical law associate Karen Jarman said the patient went to the GP for advice regarding a number of symptoms including abdominal pain.
"While she did not know the name of the antibiotic she had previously had an allergic reaction to, she told her GP that she had suffered a bad reaction to an antibiotic in the past," Ms Jarman said.
"(The patient will allege in the proceedings that) the GP had a duty of care to investigate our client's previous medical history including identifying the drug that had caused a previous allergic reaction, before prescribing antibiotics.
"(It will be alleged that) if proper investigations had been carried out, our client would not have been prescribed Norfloxacin and would not be suffering the injuries that she is suffering today."
In a statement the patient described how the medical incidents had changed her life.
"After having suffered grossly debilitating side effects from the antibiotic, I've lost a lot of my basic abilities. I've had to adapt myself in order to take on the most basic personal activities again," the patient said.
"Prior to this life-threatening injury, I was a professional in the mining industry. The after effects have left me with a physical and mental disability.
"It's impossible for me to obtain a coal board medical which is a minimum requirement to work on a coal mine. Initially, it was very difficult to obtain medical assistance as medical professionals had very limited skills to recognise these severe medical complications.
"However, I have been most fortunate to have a knowledgeable and dedicated team of professionals assisting me in Townsville and Mackay, who have joined the dots and have put me on a pathway forward.
"I believe my case highlights how severely and swiftly antibiotics can harm or even kill someone.
"I would like to see further education around the risks surrounding antibiotics, their side effects and how to identify them."
A defence has not yet been filed.
Attempts to contact Dr Swenson were unsuccessful.