LIFE CHANGING: Laraine Simpson is suing Rockhampton Hospital for medical negligence. Her life has changed dramatically since she was in hospital with a perforated bowel and she now lives with a stoma bag.
LIFE CHANGING: Laraine Simpson is suing Rockhampton Hospital for medical negligence. Her life has changed dramatically since she was in hospital with a perforated bowel and she now lives with a stoma bag. Allan Reinikka ROK010419asimpson

Woman's $800k negligence claim against Rocky Hospital

LARAINE Simpson used to enjoy a glass of wine with friends, or catching up over a coffee.

But after six years in and out of hospital with life-threatening medical conditions, the 72-year-old Rockhampton woman now rarely leaves the house.

Ms Simpson first spoke to The Morning Bulletin in 2015 about her medical ordeal where she was given just a one per cent survival rate.

She has since undergone more surgery and received the life-changing news that her emergency colostomy is irreversible.

An $800,000 claim for medical negligence has been filed in the Supreme Court at Brisbane by Ms Simpson's lawyers Maurice Blackburn.

According to the papers, Ms Simpson's medical dramas started on March 14, 2013 when she went to a GP after several days of abdominal pain and distension.

An x-ray found "gross gaseous distension of the large bowel", and surgical consultation and a CT scan was recommended.

Ms Simpson was immediately referred to Rockhampton Hospital where she went through various tests including a colonoscopy which couldn't be completed due to the bowel obstruction.

On March 17, Ms Simpson had a sudden onset of pain and felt as though something had burst in her abdomen.

She reported it to nurses and underwent further testing, when it was found she had a perforated bowel.

On April 7 she was airlifted to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital where she remained until June 1.

Ms Simpson's family and friends were told to prepare for the worst outcome.

She was in a coma for some time, and upon waking had to learn to walk and write again.

For some years, Ms Simpson hoped her colostomy could be reversed but she has recently been told she will have to use a stoma bag for life.

The medical incidents have also resulted in permanent kidney damage, nerve damage and a psychiatric injury.

The claim lodged by Maurice Blackburn covers general damages, previous and future medical costs, and future assistance with domestic tasks among other things.

Maurice Blackburn's medical negligence principal Sarah Atkinson said the claim was high because Ms Simpson required lifelong medical care.

"It's a serious injury that's going to impact her for the rest of her life. It's already caused her significant expense," Ms Atkinson said.

"As she gets older she is going to need a considerable amount of assistance around the home."

Ms Simpson said the ordeal had changed her life, and adjusting to life with a stoma had been a challenge.

She has gone from leading an active life and enjoying weekends at the beach with friends to avoiding public events.

"My stoma embarrasses me at times," she said.

"I just don't enjoy my time out and that's why I just stay at home a lot. I'm more comfortable at home knowing I can get to the toilet when I want to.

"I've had such wonderful support from all my family members and my friends.

"Without them I don't know where I would have been"

Rockhampton Hospital has not yet been required to file a response to the claim.

A spokesman said it was unable to comment on any cases before the court.