A Calwell woman who was suing the Canberra Hospital and two doctors over alleged failures stemming from migraine drug treatment has settled the case for $12 million.
It had been alleged that as a result of the alleged failures, Stacey Louise Cave, 40, suffered a stroke and brain damage, and was left dependent on a wheelchair.
The case stemmed from Ms Cave's use of the drug Deseril over many years to treat migraines, which the former teacher had suffered since she was a teenager.
Since the late 1990s, she had been taking the drug under the supervision of a consulting neurologist and her Woden general practitioner Brenda Jean Tait.
During that time, she took regular "Deseril holidays". The holidays, for four weeks roughly every five months, were designed to reduce the known circulatory risks associated with taking the drug non-stop.
It had been alleged that when a different neurologist, Deakin's Colin James Andrews, took Ms Cave on as a patient in October 2007, he and Dr Tait failed to ensure she continued to take "Deseril holidays".
It was alleged that in July 2011, Dr Andrews advised Dr Tait to prescribe another drug, Maxalt wafer, which she did, when they both should have known it should not be given to patients already taking Deseril.
It was alleged that by September 2011, Ms Cave, who was a teacher at Garran Primary School, had been taking Deseril for four years without a break.
Over a week in October that year, Ms Cave went to Dr Tait and the hospital emergency room several times complaining of blurred vision, pounding in the ear and weak limbs.
It was alleged the hospital and Dr Tait missed the signs Deseril was a possible cause of Ms Cave's symptoms.
On October 11 that year, Ms Cave had a stroke in hospital.
It was alleged she suffered permanent brain injury, limb weakness, blurry vision, and psychiatric injury, and was wheelchair dependent and needed 24-hour care as a result of the hospital and doctors' alleged failures.
The doctors and hospital had largely denied the alleged breaches of duty of care, except for Dr Tait who had made certain admissions, including in relation to Deseril holidays.
The matter went to full hearing before a dozen barristers and lawyers in the ACT Supreme Court last week. On Monday, they told the court a settlement had been reached.
It is common in medical negligence lawsuits for insurers and indemnity protection societies to indemnify doctors and make decisions in relation to such cases.
Of the $12 million to be paid, the hospital will contribute $3 million and each doctor will contribute $4.5 million.
In a handwritten statement provided by Ms Cave's lawyers outside court, Ms Cave's family said she had had "her dignity, her every day function, her ambitions, her goals, her dreams and her hopes stolen from her".
"Stacey spent 50 weeks in the Canberra Hospital in the most extreme vulnerable state imaginable. It was a terrifying, traumatic and horrific experience."
They said while they were all deeply affected by the "living nightmare", the family remained "united through it all; such is the heart, spirit and character of Stacey."
Also in the statement, Ms Cave implored and encouraged "every single person requiring medication to learn as much as possible about a drug before they take it."
"Be very clear about which medications must not be taken together. If symptoms or side effects are experienced, seek medical help immediately and without delay.
"Stacey will continue to heal, rebuild her life, contribute to the community and enjoy life as best as she can, with continued love and support of family and friends."
On Monday, the parties' barristers also argued about costs, both as between Ms Cave and the defendants and among the three defendants themselves.
Justice John Burns has reserved his decision on costs.
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