On the last appointment, Patient X brought his girlfriend with him. While the needles were inserted, the Insured had to advise Patient X multiple times to remain prone and not to move, as Patient X kept on moving around while carrying on a heated conversation with his girlfriend. After the needles were removed, Patient X stood up and advised that he felt faint. He then complained of severe chest pain, nausea, and trouble breathing. The Insured immediately called an ambulance. Patient X was diagnosed with a punctured lung and was treated in hospital for 12 days. He then commenced an action against the insured alleging negligence and seeking $150,000 for pain and suffering, as well as special damages, loss of future income, costs, and interest. The Insured reported the claim to Trisura. Trisura confirmed that coverage was available for this matter, and retained experienced counsel to represent the Insured. During the course of litigation, Patient X maintained the position that the risks inherent with the procedure had never been explained to him, and that he had never seen, nor been asked to sign a consent form. The Insured disagreed. Patient X insisted that he would not have agreed to treatment if he had known all the risks. He also denied having moved at all during treatment, and said that he had not spoken to his girlfriend while the needles were inserted. It therefore became an issue of credibility between the parties.
Given the facts, and in particular, the failure to follow proper clinical procedures and insist on a signed consent form before treatment was even commenced, settlement negotiations commenced to avoid a lengthy trial and a probable finding of liability against the Insured. The matter settled for $42,000. In addition to the settlement amount, the insured’s defense costs were in excess of $20,000. Trisura retained counsel, paid the legal fees, and paid to settle the claim.
1) Importance of following consent procedures that have been put in place
2) Litigation is expensive and can often come down to he said/she said
3) Professional Liability insurance can save you a lot of money in the event of a claim