The case of Almario and Varipatis

21 February 2013

Professor Barbara McDonald comments on the case of Mr Luis Almario, a morbidly obese man, who was awarded $350,000 after a Judge found that his GP was negligent.

According to The Law Report on ABC's Radio National,the judge found that Mr Almario's GP, Dr Emmanuel Varipatis, was negligent for failing to refer his patient to an obesity specialist or lap-band surgeon.

And the judge found that this failure allowed Mr Almario's liver disease to progress to terminal liver cancer.

Next month the New South Wales Supreme Court will hear an appeal in the case of Almario and Varipatis and Professor McDonald says the worry of this case is the degree of active involvement on behalf of GPs.

" I should, however, say that a question of breach of duty of negligence is a decision of fact, it's actually not a precedent as such for other GPs.

"Every decision is a decision of fact, so you can't say that just because the doctor was liable in this case that a doctor would always be liable for not referring a patient.

"But clearly now bariatric surgery is much better known and much more common.

"We hear of people having it all the time, and it may be more available, it may be less expensive than it used to be when it was rare, and it may be something that now we have more awareness of how effective it can be."

View the transcript - Obese man wins $350,000 from Doctor - The Law Report

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