Dad’s fight to fulfil cancer campaigner's dying wish
GRIEVING father Tony Simrajh wants a review of the medical negligence laws to fulfil his daughter Ash's dying wish - to hold the doctors who allegedly misdiagnosed her melanoma responsible.
On March 15 it was six months since Gold Coast melanoma campaigner Ashleigh Hale (nee Simrajh) died after a fierce battle with the disease.
"Not a day goes by where I don't break down crying or wonder if I could have done more to cure my beautiful daughter. We promised her that we would do everything that we could and that she wouldn't die but we failed her," he said.
Mr Simrajh said in addition to promising to treat her new husband Jason as family, he promised Ash he'd make sure no one else suffered the same fate she did.
"Today we launch a fight to change the medical negligence laws in Queensland, and across Australia, to ensure doctors are liable for a patient's pain and suffering and/or loss of life and future earnings, not just the cost of expenses when a patient is sick," he said.
"So far we have spent nearly $50,000 in legal fees and doctors reports and will continue to do so until these doctors are held to account."
Mr Simrajh said in 2003 every state government in Australia changed their laws around medical negligence, after intense pressure from the medical fraternity, to limit payouts that medical professionals were liable for in the case of negligence.
The argument at the time was that if changes weren't made, then doctors would choose not to practice as their medical insurance costs would be excessive.
Mr Simrajh said the changes extinguished the rights of an estate after the death of a person to be able only to recover costs associated with the deceased's medical care.
"However, this fails to recognise the pain and suffering that the deceased person went through and also fails to recognise the pain and suffering of family members," he said.
The act states that for a wrongful death claim, any spouse, parent or child who claims (or is a party to a claim) must show that they were economically dependent on the deceased as a family provider or the deceased provided household services to the dependent.
"Imagine if your child died due to medical negligence under the current legislation the doctor would not be liable for death or your child's pain and suffering they would be able to walk away with as little as your medical expenses," he said.
"There needs to be a balance between the need to control insurance premiums and holding doctors accountable for failing to do their jobs; the only way to hold them accountable is through their pockets."
Mr Simrajh said while it was too late for Ash, he called on the wider community to help him get 100,000 on his change.org petition, Changes to the Civil Liabilities Act 2003 Qld.
"It's not about a million dollar payout - it's about holding these doctors accountable."
Originally published as Coast dad's "fight" to fulfil cancer campaigner Ashleigh's dying wish