A mother of two claims she is now a partial paraplegic because Logan Hospital allegedly failed to properly investigate and diagnose a spinal infection before it caused permanent injury.
Rachael Baker was taken to the hospital’s emergency department in an ambulance suffering severe back pain in 2014.
Despite her symptoms, the 42-year-old alleged she was discharged from the hospital without proper assessments and tests for the unexplained pain.
“The pain was the most severe back pain you could imagine, I was incapable of walking,” she said.
Five days later, Ms Baker was taken back to the emergency department and found to have a severe spinal infection which led to her becoming a partial paraplegic.
She spent weeks in intensive care and now cannot move without a walker or wheelchair.
“It’s documented that within 24 hours, worst case 72 hours, if I had have been diagnosed, I would not be in the situation I’m in,” she alleged.
“I’m angry that it wasn’t picked up, I’m angry that I wasn’t believed, I’m angry that the job people are paid to do wasn’t done.
“My life has been turned on its head, upside down, around the wrong way … I’m not me anymore.”
Clare Eves from Shine Lawyers is acting on behalf of Ms Baker and has served a medical negligence claim against the hospital seeking compensation.
“The evidence that we have to date is, if Rachael had been admitted and placed on intravenous antibiotics, the health condition that ultimately unfolded with her becoming so grossly unwell would have been avoided,” Ms Eves claimed.
Rachael Baker relies on an assistance dog and walker after life-changing spinal injury. (ABC News: Ellie Sibson)
“To think that that could have been avoided had adequate investigations and a diagnosis been made is really disappointing.”
In a statement, Metro South Health chief executive Dr Stephen Ayre confirmed Logan Hospital investigated the allegations.
“A formal investigation of this case with the Office of the Health Ombudsman was closed in 2016 with no further action required of the hospital based on independent clinical advice,” Dr Ayre said.
“We are unable to comment further as the case is in legal proceedings.”
Ms Baker now lives with an assistance dog and said every day is a struggle.
“I was so active before … I used to be able to do housework easy, I never required assistance to use public transport because now I can’t drive,” she said.
“I want to make people aware that this can happen to anyone, a spinal cord injury isn’t always accidental, you can have an infection and people don’t do their job.”