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Chemo victim cynical of SA Govt compensation


One of the victims of a chemotherapy dosing bungle in Adelaide says government compensation means little given what he’s been through to get it.

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Andrew Knox, who is in his 60s and in remission, is one of 10 patients who were under-dosed at two Adelaide hospitals between July 2014 and January last year because of a typographical error.

He will accept the $100,000 offered by the State Government but has told ABC radio it “won’t pay for our lives nor what our families have been through”.

“The money is to a very large degree immaterial. It would have helped but it won’t save anything,” Knox said on Thursday.

“We’ve been robbed of what time we’ve had with our families.”

Knox also said his lawyer labelled the compensation offered as “woefully inadequate”.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill has said he was “horrified” at the way the government treated the victims of the chemotherapy bungle.

He said the department managing compensation was meant to deal with the issue generously and promptly.

But in reality it appeared to be “swinging the lead” over payouts and treating the victims “like they’ve just gone A over T at a government office”.

Knox accused the government of a “systematic cover-up” over the bungle and said Weatherill knew more than he was letting on.

“The whole of us were then subjected to the systemised cover-up of not entering things into the safety system which would have triggered the support we ought to have had,” he said.

“What we have had is some ad-hoc things that the government’s been forced to do kicking and screaming.

“From the outset our representative was told that we will not negotiate [with compensation]. And we understand that direction came directly from the premier himself and I challenge him to disprove that.”

But Weatherill said he was kept in the dark until last week – when he intervened to expedite the payouts.

“As far as we understood, the matter was handled in an appropriate fashion,” he told ABC radio after Knox broadcast his latest concerns.

Eight clinicians have been referred to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) over the bungle.

AHPRA will report its findings to the Medical Board of Australia, which could take disciplinary action – including suspension or deregistration – if adverse conduct is discovered.

An inquiry also found staff at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre failed to disclose the mistakes to patients or management.

Weatherill said today that he was given assurances that the state would act as a model litigant, but that hadn’t happened, sparking his intervention this week.

He indicated that he and Health Minister Jack Snelling had been assured that the Government insurer, SAICORP, a subsidiary of the Treasurer, had been acting appropriately.

“Jack and I established the policy framework which is that people should behave, that is the government compensation section, should behave in an exemplary fashion,” he said.

“In other words Government should be a model citizen when it comes to conducting a resolution for compensation claim, we expected that to happen. When we found out it wasn’t happening we requested that they expedite an offer and that’s what happened.”

– with AAP

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