Cochlear implant compensation has potential to reach tens of millions

Wednesday 29 March 2023
Cochlear implant compensation has potential to reach tens of millions

Potential medical negligence lawsuits could catapult into the tens of millions for the children whose hearing and development is found to have been impacted by a cochlear implant programming error at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, according to law firm.

Head of medical negligence for Shine Lawyers in South Australia, Kelly Stephenson, has flown in from Darwin to publicly discuss the rights of families and children impacted by this error and what steps could be taken in respect to legal action.

Impacted families and children may be eligible to sue and claim compensation for:

  • Physical damage done to child;
  • Psychological damage done to child;
  • Cost of additional health appointments (retrospective);
  • Loss of future earnings based on less employable status;
  • Cost for parent to take additional time off work for care or appointments;
  • Psychological damage to parent through stress and anxiety.

At least 30 children have been impacted, which Health Minister Chris Picton was made aware at least six months ago.

After the impassioned pleas of distraught families, the Minister finally launched an independent review last week.

“This programming error is horrible and heartbreaking and should never have occurred in South Australia - and because of that there are impacted families and children out there who may deserve compensation,” Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said.

“Imagine finding out that your hearing could have been far better than it is, but that an error has changed the course of your life.

“It would be heart wrenching for these children - some who will be permanently affected by this and never develop appropriate listening and speaking skills - and their families.

“Unfortunately dithering and delays by Chris Picton may have added to the state’s liability, increasing compensation lawsuits and further burdening South Australian taxpayers.”

Shadow Minister for Health Ashton Hurn said the Malinauskas Labor Government must provide an urgent update on how many families have been contacted.

“We need assurances that Peter Malinauskas and Chris Picton are doing everything in their power to address this issue quickly,” Mrs Hurn said.

“It took a brave audiologist from Little Allied Health, to help uncover this issue and bring it to our attention and to light.

“Families still have so many unanswered questions, and we want to help them get the answers they need and deserve.”