Patient sues Ballarat Base Hospital for medical negligence

A YOUNG father has been left paralysed for life due to the medical negligence of Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital, a court will hear.

Horsham resident Shannon Hoffmann, who has launched legal action against the hospital in the Supreme Court, is claiming he was sent home without proper tests being conducted and later collapsed and was paralysed.

A former Noradjuha-Quantong Football Club sportsman, Mr Hoffmann now claims he is confined to a wheelchair for life.

“It has changed everything completely,” he told The Courier.

He has engaged Slater and Gordon lawers to pursue Ballarat Base Hospital for damages, including lost earnings and future medical expenses and the cost of a full-time carer to assist with daily living.

The court will hear that Mr Hoffmann’s paralysis was caused by an extensive spinal epidural abscess.

He went to the Ballarat Base Hospital’s emergency department on September 15, 2008 with active Crohn’s disease, severe lower back pain and diarrhoea.

The hospital carried out tests and discharged Mr Hoffmann on September 19.

He was supposed to return the next week for more tests, but he did not make it back and collapsed.

Mr Hoffmann claims the hospital had a report available to it, raising the possibility he had developed a fistulous communication between the rectum and sacrum.

He claims the fistula was not detected and was allowed to spread to the spinal canal, eventually resulting in an extensive spinal epidural abscess.

This left him quadriplegic for life and suffering from a number of other physical and psychological conditions.

The hospital denies the allegations and claims Mr Hoffmann’s treatment was provided in a manner widely accepted as competent and professional practice.

A trial date has been set for August next year.

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