Justice for toddler left with severe disability by children’s hospital

27 September 2019
After more than a decade of legal battles, a Perth family has had their fight for justice for their severely injured daughter vindicated by the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of an earlier decision in a civil claim which found Princess Margaret Hospital’s treatment of a toddler with scald burns was negligent and led to the child developing cerebral palsy.

The claim brought against the children’s hospital by medical negligence law firm, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers alleges the failure to treat 18 month old Sunday Mabior with antibiotics when she first showed signs of sepsis led to her brain injury in 2005.

Today, in a unanimous decision the Supreme Court dismissed all 16 grounds of appeal.

Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate, Ian Murray said it’s a momentous decision that vindicates the family’s 11 year fight for justice for their now teenage daughter.

“We’re extremely pleased that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal made by the Child & Adolescent Health Service against the findings of the District Court in 2018.

“It’s now 18 months since those findings were handed down, and 14 years since Sunday was left permanently disabled after suffering what should have been non-life-threatening scald burns,” Mr Murray said.

“The failure to provide her with antibiotics led to her suffering from two cardiac arrests and a brain injury from which she will never recover.

“We hope that this David and Goliath legal battle which began in 2008 has finally reached its conclusion and that Sunday will now receive the compensation that she so thoroughly deserves,” Mr Murray said. 

“We have now fought for Sunday through a trial and an appeal, and are grateful for the resounding vindication of her case provided by our state’s highest court.”

Mr and Mrs Mabior welcomed today’s decision as an important victory in their long fight for justice and answers on behalf of their daughter.

“Sunday is now growing up and she needs to know why she will have to live for the rest of her life with this disability.

“No amount of money on this world that can restore or bring back Sunday’s body - she will never walk like her siblings and friends.

“The trauma of watching Sunday’s life-supporting machine switched off and her coming back to life will stay with us forever.

“We hope important life-saving lessons have been learnt and that no child or family will ever have to go through what happened to Sunday.”

Sunday was a recently arrived Sudanese refugee when she was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital in 2005 with scald burns sustained after falling into a bath.

Her condition deteriorated at Princess Margaret Hospital over the following 48 hours, with clinical signs consistent with infection until she eventually collapsed and was subsequently diagnosed with sepsis and treated with antibiotics.

Sunday went on to suffer two cardiac arrests and the lack of oxygen caused her to suffer a permanent brain injury and develop cerebral palsy.

The District Court of Western Australia found in February 2018 that the hospital had negligently failed to prescribe antibiotics, that sepsis was present before Sunday collapsed, and that she would have avoided a brain injury had there been an earlier antibiotic treatment.

Media inquiries:  Rebecca Nash at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on 0438 497 539

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