In Odisho v Bonazzi [2014] VSCA 11, Ms Odisho allegedly suffered a pulmonary emboli due to the negligence of her gynaecologist, Dr Bonazzi.  Specifically, Ms Odisho alleged that Dr Bonazzi failed to provide appropriate warning about the side effects of tranexamic acid (which she argued caused the pulmonary emboli).  Thromboembolic events are a rare side effect of tranexamic acid.

Doctors have a duty to warn patients of material risks inherent in any proposed treatment.  Under Rogers v Whitaker (1992) 175 CLR 497, a risk is "material" if:

  • in the particular circumstances, a reasonable person in the patient’s position; or
  • the doctor should reasonably be aware that the particular patient,

would, if warned of that risk, likely attach significance to that risk. 

On 18 February 2014, the Court of Appeal dismissed Ms Osisho’s appeal, determining that:

  • although Ms Odisho clearly presented as anxious to Dr Bonazzi, the evidence did not indicate circumstances which should reasonably have made Dr Bonazzi aware that (if warned of the risk of thromboembolism) Ms Odisho would likely have attached significance to it;
  • of the four treatments available, tranexamic acid was the only viable option and there was no evidence to conclude (on the balance of probabilities) that the risk actually materialised and the treatment caused the pulmonary emboli; and
  • Ms Odisho did not establish that, had Dr Bonazzi warned her of the risk, such warning would have made a difference to her decision to accept that treatment.

To read the full case, click here.