Case vignette 1

Factsa52-year-old man.
Heart attack.
Stent was inserted.
‘No one told me the stent could block up.’
‘A few months later, the stent occluded.’
‘It felt like a knife had been stabbed right through my heart.’
‘I was told that I was “imagining things” and “I was ignored and got treatment very late.”’
‘I ended up having another heart attack.’
Primary relevant lawSection 32 of the Accident Compensation Act 2001.
Opinions on causationA senior cardiologist was asked for his expert opinion. His opinion was that 80% of the injury was caused by the errors and delayed treatment. Whereas, ACC argued that the second heart attack was not caused by the treating team, but by my underlying cardiac issues from the first heart attack.
ACC determinationThe patient's injury was caused by his underlying health condition. Therefore, he did not qualify for cover, compensation or rehabilitation.
EvaluationThe patient's needs were not met.
Reinforces commentators’ critique that the statutory provisions about causation have reintroduced negligence-style criteria, which are an anathema to a no-fault scheme.
  • aTaken from research interview with patient participant. ACC = Accident Compensation Corporation.