Medical malpractice

DibbsBarker has recognised expertise in the specialist area of medical negligence and associated regulatory and disciplinary hearings and investigations. On instructions from medical defence organisations and general insurers we act in over 150 claims a year on behalf of individual medical practitioners, allied health practitioners and some private hospitals in the defence of claims and in response to complaints.

At a portfolio level, DibbsBarker is also retained by a general insurer to conduct audit/risk compliance reviews of three private hospital organisations and for a state government body. This program critically assesses the risk profile and outstanding claims reserves of these institutions.


Successful appeal against suspension from practice: Acted for a gynaecologist responding to allegations of having poor surgical skills and performing unnecessary operative procedures. The practitioner was suspended from practice following a Performance Assessment and a review of that Assessment by the NSW Medical Board. We appealed against the suspension to the Medical Tribunal. Shortly before the Tribunal hearing, the Board reconsidered its decision to suspend, revoked the suspension and imposed conditions on practice for the protection of the public. We negotiated more favourable conditions and then successfully obtained an order that the Board pay the practitioner's costs of the appeal to the Tribunal.

Settlement through mediation: Acted for an obstetrician, responding to a claim for failing to diagnose growth retardation in the womb, said to have led to the development of cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and visual problems. The defence required extensive consideration of obstetric and ultrasound ante-natal practice, and complex issues of causation, life expectancy and damages for a severely disabled child as well as nervous shock claims for the parents and siblings. The claim settled at mediation for about one-third of full value and subsequently the Supreme Court approved the settlement in relation to the interests of the child, who was under a legal disability.

Successful result at trial: Acted for a spinal surgeon in 2013 sued for surgical mismanagement and failing to diagnose post-operative complications. After a six day trial, the allegations were successfully refuted.

Contested hearing at Supreme Court: Acted for a general practitioner sued for medical negligence which occurred in the early 1970s. After many interlocutory applications and hearings, application was made to the Supreme Court in 2013 to have the litigation dismissed on the basis that the lapse of time led to the conclusion that there were no prospects of a fair trial. After a contested hearing, the patient’s claim was dismissed, with costs.

Tribunal hearing: Appearing for a medical practitioner at a Medical Tribunal hearing where the practitioner faced allegations relating to the prescription of off-label testosterone and steroids for ‘anti-ageing’ purposes. While the complaints were proven, we successfully argued that the practitioner should remain in practice, on conditions that he did not engage in medical treatment outside his core area of expertise.


Special Counsel
T +61 7 3100 5056
Doyles Guide leading list rankings

Terry Killian - Recommended Lawyer in Medical Negligence & Malpractice (Defendant - Queensland, 2016)

DibbsBarker - Third Tier Law Firm in Medical Negligence & Malpractice (Defendant - Queensland, 2016)

Doyles Guide is an independent guide with rankings compiled through feedback from those in the legal profession.

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