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Suit Filed against Australian Chelationist


Kenneth Hough, of Bellbowrie, Queensland has filed a $250,000 lawsuit against Dr. Lin Sinnathamby and the hospital where Sinnathamby was employed. The suit charges that:

  • In December 1996 and January 1997, when Hough was 55 years old, Sinnathamby falsely promised that chelation therapy would clean out his arteries and make him feel generally more energetic.
  • Six treatments were administered despite the fact that Hough did not display any medically recognized indication for them.
  • During the last treatment, Hough's heart stopped beating. Although he was resuscitated, he suffered a heart attack and was left with permanent damage to his heart.

Chelation proponents claim that their procedure is safe and effective against coronary atherosclerosis. However, there is no scientific evidence that this is true, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has obtained a cease-and-desist order prohibiting the American College of Advancement of Medicine from advertising any such claim.


DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

REGISTRY: Brisbane
NUMBER: of 2000
Plaintiff: Kenneth Hough, Bellbowrie, Qld 4070
First Defendant: Dr Lin Sinnathamby, 401 Milton Road, Auchenflower Qld 4066
Second Defendant: Centrepoint Private Hospital Pty Ltd, 401 Milton Road, Auchenflower Qld 4066
Filed by: Dean Stibbe, Stibbe & Associates. 43 Benabrow Avenue, Bribie Island Qld 4507, Tel: (07) 3408 7233

The Plaintiff's claim is for TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS (250,000.00) being:

(i) as against the First Defendant, for damages for personal injuries sustained on the 14th day of January 1997, and suffered by reason of the negligence or breach of contract of and by the First Defendant; and
(ii) as against the Second Defendant, for damages for personal injuries sustained on the 14th day of January 1997, and suffered by reason of the negligence or breach of contract of and by the Second Defendant, its servants or agents.

The Plaintiff also claims interest thereon pursuant to the provisions of Section 47 of the Supreme Court Act, 1995.

The Plaintiff makes this claim in reliance on the facts alleged in the attached Statement of Claim.

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

This claim in this proceeding is made in reliance upon the following facts:

1. The Plaintiff was born on 26th February 1941

2. At all material times to this action the First Defendant:

(a) was a legally qualified medical practitioner;
(b) was carrying on his practice from premises situated at 401 Milton Road, Auchenflower
(c) was an employee of the Second Defendant;
(d) held himself out as a specialist providing chelation therapy treatment involving the use of Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid for members of the public requiring the same.

3. At all material times to this action the Second Defendant:

(a) was a company duly incorporated according to law and capable of being sued in its corporate name:
(b) was the employer of the Second Defendant;
(c) had its registered office and principal place of business at premises situated at 401 Milton Road, Auchenflower, Brisbane in the State of Queensland ("the premises")
(d) was conducting and had the care, control and management of a private hospital under the name of Auchenflower Private Hospital;
(e) offered and provided and held itself out as offering and providing specialist medical surgical specialist nursing and other treatment for members of the public requiring the same.

4. In or about December, 1996 the Plaintiff was referred to the First Defendant by his General Practitioner, Dr Jean MacFarlane.

5. The Plaintiff attended the First Defendant and engaged the First Defendant for reward as his specialist medical practitioner to provide advice and information regarding the provision of chelation therapy to the Plaintiff.

(a) alternatively, the Plaintiff attended the First Defendant as the servant and/or agent of the Second Defendant to obtain advice and information regarding the provision of chelation therapy to the Plaintiff.

6. It was an express or implied term of the Plaintiff's retainer of the First Defendant that the First Defendant would exercise due care and skill in the provision of advice and information and treatment to the Plaintiff.

7. The Plaintiff was advised by the First Defendant that chelation therapy:

(a) was a safe treatment
(b) would make him generally feel more energetic
(c) would clean out his arteries

8. In reliance upon the advice provided by the First Defendant the Plaintiff attended at the Second Defendant's premises and received chelation therapy treatment administered by the First Defendant and the Second Defendant's servants and or agents.

9. The Plaintiff paid the Second Defendant for the services provided by the Second Defendant ("the contract")

10. It was an express or implied term of the said contract that the Second Defendant and its servants or agents would exercise due care and skill in the provision of the nursing and medical treatment services provided to the Plaintiff.

11. The Plaintiff received chelation therapy treatment on the following dates:

(a) 23rd December 1996
(b) 6th January 1997
(c) 8th January 1997
(d) 10th January 1997
(e) 13th January 1997
(f) 14th January 1997

12. The Plaintiff did not display the recognised indicators for chelation therapy such as:

(a) heavy metal poisoning
(b) exercise related angina

13. As a consequence of the chelation therapy the Plaintiff had received, the Plaintiff sustained injuries which included suffering a cardiac arrest on the 14th January 1997 which required the Plaintiff to be resuscitated from ventricular fibrillation.

14. In breach of the express or implied terms pleaded in paragraph 6 herein the First Defendant failed to render his services as a specialist medical practitioner to the Plaintiff with due care and skill thereby causing injury to the Plaintiff.

PARTICULARS
(a) failing to provide any or any appropriate advice to the Plaintiff of the risks and possible consequences of undertaking chelation therapy;
(b) failing to provide any or any appropriate warning to the Plaintiff regarding the risk of the Plaintiff suffering a cardiac arrest following the provision of chelation therapy;
(c) recommending an inappropriate treatment regime being chelation therapy to the Plaintiff;
(d) failing to undertake any or any appropriate investigations, examinations or tests or sufficient investigations, examinations or tests to ascertain whether the Plaintiff was a suitable candidate for chelation therapy;
(e) failing to provide any or any appropriate monitoring of the Plaintiff following the provision of the chelation therapy treatment.

15. In breach of the express or implied terms pleaded in paragraph 10 herein, the Second Defendant failed to render its nursing and medical treatment services to the Plaintiff with due care and skill thereby causing injury to the Plaintiff.

PARTICULARS
(a) failing to provide any or any appropriate advice to the Plaintiff of the risks and possible consequences of undertaking chelation therapy;
(b) failing to provide any or any appropriate warning to the Plaintiff regarding the risk of cardiac arrest following the provision of chelation therapy;
(c) failing to undertake any or any appropriate investigations, examinations or tests or sufficient investigation, examinations or tests or ascertain whether the Plaintiff was a suitable candidate for chelation therapy;
(d) failing to provide any or any appropriate monitoring of the Plaintiff following the provision of the chelation therapy treatment;
(e) failing to ensure that the Second Defendant's servants or agents assisting the First Defendant possessed the requisite competency, experience and skill so as to ensure that no injury would be occasioned to the Plaintiff by the chelation therapy.

16. The injuries to the Plaintiff were caused by the negligence of the Defendants.

17. It is alleged that the First Defendant was negligent by:

(a) failing to provide any or any appropriate advices to the Plaintiff of the risks and possible consequences of undertaking chelation therapy;
(b) failing to provide any or any appropriate warning to the Plaintiff regarding the risk of the Plaintiff suffering a cardiac arrest following the provision of chelation therapy;
(c) recommending an inappropriate treatment regime being chelation therapy to the Plaintiff;
(d) failing to undertake any or any appropriate investigations, examinations or tests or sufficient investigations, examinations or tests to ascertain whether the Plaintiff was a suitable candidate for chelation therapy;
(e) failing to provide any or any appropriate monitoring of the Plaintiff following the provision of the chelation treatment;
(f) failing to take any or any adequate precautions for the safety of the Plaintiff;
(g) exposing the Plaintiff to a risk of injury which could have been avoided by the exercise of appropriate care on the part of the First Defendant.

18. It is alleged that the Second Defendant, or its servants or agents were negligent by:

(a) failing to provide any or any appropriate advise to the Plaintiff of the risks and possible consequences of undertaking chelation therapy;
(b) failing to provide any or any appropriate warning to the Plaintiff regarding the risk of cardiac arrest following the provision of chelation therapy;
(c) failing to undertake any or any appropriate investigations, examinations or tests or sufficient investigations, examinations or tests to ascertain whether the Plaintiffs was a suitable candidate for chelation therapy;
(d) failing to provide any or any appropriate monitoring of the Plaintiff following the provision of the chelation therapy treatment;
(e) failing to ensure that the Second Defendant's servants or agents assisting the First Defendant possessed the requisite competency, experience and skill as to ensure that no injury would be occasioned to the Plaintiff by the chelation therapy;
(f) failing to take any or any adequate precautions for the safety of the Plaintiff:
(g) exposing the Plaintiff to a risk of injury which could have been avoided by the exercise of appropriate care on the part of the First Defendant.

19. The Second Defendant is vicariously liable for the negligence of the First Defendant.

20. By reason of the negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract of and by the Defendants, their servants or agents, or one of them, and the incident aforesaid occasioned thereby, the Plaintiff sustained personal injuries.

PARTICULARS
(a) cardiac arrest;
(b) ventricular fibrillation;
(c) anterior myocardial infarction;
(d) rib injuries;
(e) depression.

21. As a consequence of the negligence and breach of contract of the Defendants the Plaintiff claims damages for personal injuries against the First and Second Defendants, particulars of which are as follows:

22 General Damages: $40,000.00
Following the provision of the chelation treatment on the 14th January 1997, the Plaintiff suffered a cardiac arrest and went into ventricular fibrillation. The Plaintiff had died and was resuscitated by the attending ambulance officers. The Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to St Andrews Hospital where he was treated with thrombolytic therapy.

As a result of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation provided by the ambulance officers, the Plaintiff sustained painful injuries to his ribs. The Plaintiff underwent a coronary angioplasty procedure at the St Andrews Heart Institute. The Plaintiff has been left with subsequent heart damage as a consequence of his cardiac arrest. The Plaintiff suffers from a depressive disorder as a consequence of this incident. The Plaintiff is now unable or limited in the recreational activities he can undertake and the Plaintiff has experienced a loss of amenities and has otherwise been damnified. Further particulars of the Plaintiffs claim for general damages will be delivered in the Plaintiffs Statement of Loss and Damage in accordance with the provisions of Rule 547 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999. The Plaintiff claims the sum of $40,000.00.

23. Interest on General Damages: $1,500.00
The Plaintiff claims interest at 2% on $25,000.00 for three years

24. Economic Loss
As a consequence of his injuries the Plaintiff required time away from his employment to recuperate from the heart attach and the operative procedures and to obtain treatment for his condition. The Plaintiff has sustained a loss of income due to his absences from employment. The Plaintiff will also be limited in the type of work he can undertake in the future and will be disadvantaged in seeking employment in the future. The Plaintiff claims damages in respect of his economic loss. Full particulars of the Plaintiffs economic loss will be provided in the Plaintiffs Statement of Loss and Damage in accordance with the provisions of Rule 547 of the Uniform Civil Procedures Rules 1999.

25. Gratuitous Assistance
The Plaintiff has been rendered gratuitous domestic and quasi-nursing services and he claims the value of those services so rendered and to be rendered in the future. Full particulars of the gratuitous services provided to the Plaintiff will be provided in the Plaintiffs Statement of Loss and Damage in accordance with the provisions of Rule 547 of the Uniform Civil Procedures Rules 1999.

26. Special Damages
The Plaintiff has also as a result of the injuries required and will continue to require medical and other treatment and has incurred expense in treating his injuries. Full particulars of the Plaintiffs special damages will be provided in the Plaintiffs Statement of Loss and Damage in accordance with the provisions of Rule 547 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999.

The Plaintiff claims the following relief:

1. the sum of TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($250,000.00) being:

(i) as against the First Defendant, for damages for personal injuries sustained on the 14th day of January 1997 and suffered by reason of the negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract of and by the First Defendant; and
(ii) as against the Second Defendant, for damages for personal injuries sustained on the 14th day of January 1997 and suffered by reason of the negligence, breach of duty and/or breach of contract of and by the Second Defendant, his/its servants or agents.

2. Interest thereon pursuant to the provisions of Section 47 of the Supreme Court Act 1995;

3. Costs of and incidental to the action.

The Plaintiff does not require a jury.

Signed:

Description:

The pleading was settled by Mr P B O'Neill of Counsel

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This page was posted on December 12, 2003.