Coffs man sues hospital over "botched" brain operations

A YOUNG Coffs Harbour man is suing the Sydney Children's Hospital over a series of brain surgeries in the early 90s which he alleges left him with permanent disabilities.

Robert Klewer was four when he was admitted to the Coffs District Hospital and diagnosed with a left thalamic tumour and upper limb paralysis, the NSW Supreme Court heard.

While the tumour was not removed, Mr Klewer underwent three operations in Sydney.

An infected bone flap required further surgery.

Now 25, Mr Klewer suffers from "foot drop, a right-sided deficiency which causes him to have very limited mobility and very poor vision on the right side".

The court heard that while he could hold a conversation and was "basically articulate", Mr Klewer's capacity to understand sophisticated concepts was diminished.

As a result, his brother - Ryan Klewer, was appointed his tutor and filed the medical negligence claims on his behalf.

Justice Christine Adamson noted the question of whether Mr Klewer's impairments arose from his underlying condition or from an "aggravation of exacerbation for which the defendant is responsible", would be determined during the hearings.

While the Sydney Children's Hospital was ready to defend the claims, Justice Adamson accepted Mr Klewer's disability benefits were not sufficient to pay for legal services.

She was satisfied that "in the interests of justice", Mr Klewer should be referred to a barrister on the Pro Bono legal panel for advice before the hearings went ahead.

The case is expected to return to court on September 13.



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