Brakoulias suffer cardiac arrest from weight loss drug
A Glen Waverley woman who took her doctor to court over accusations of negligence has failed to prove her claim that the doctor gave her a wrong diagnosis
A Glen Waverley woman who took her doctor to court over accusations of negligence has failed to prove her claim that the doctor gave her a wrong diagnosis.
Toula Brakoulias, 57, suffered a heart attack four months after she was prescribed the weight loss drug Reductil in late 2004 by Dr Chitra Karunaharan. She claimed Dr Karunaharan did not take required tests needed before she was prescribed the medication.
The court heard Ms Brakoulias complained of fatigue and unexpected weight gain in the months after she took the drug, and her heart attack left her with severe permanent disabilities and brain damage. She is now totally dependent on her carers.
Medical tests carried out after her heart attack found Ms Brakoulias suffered a rare condition called hyprothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, which was likely to cause the weight gain. Reductil comes with a warning that is should not be administered to people with a thyroid condition, was banned in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration because research found that the drug can cause cardiac arrest.
Several doctors presenting evidence at the hearing said Dr Karunaharan may have prescribed the drug prematurely and standard practice would have been to get a thorough medical history, do an examination to find a possible underlying cause of obesity. The drug would be prescribed as a last resort.
Other doctors testified that Dr Karunaharan acted within her clinical judgement and that it was "perfectly reasonable" that she did not check for such a rare thyroid condition.
The Supreme Court jury found Dr Karunaharan had not negligently caused Ms Brakoulias's injuries. She has been ordered to pay for the doctor's legal costs.
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