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Medical Care

Legal Action Against Event First Aid Treatment

Current legal action in Victoria sets to shine the spotlight on the level of medical care provided at events. In the Victorian County Court, a woman is suing Surf Lifesaving Australia and the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club for damages resulting from injuries allegedly sustained while receiving treatment from St John Ambulance volunteers. The woman was competing in several events during an international surf lifesaving championship at Lorne, Victoria in 2006 when she was treated by volunteer first aid officers for a shoulder dislocation. The writ claims this treatment provided by volunteer first aid officers exacerbated her injury, was beyond their capabilities and constituted unlawful assault and battery. This case emphasizes the need for all event organisers to:

  1. Conduct a thorough event risk assessment prior to the event
  2. Match the capabilities of medical services and first aid with foreseeable injuries likely to occur at the event; and
  3. Ensure medical and first aid staff have clear protocols for dealing with injuries that are beyond their trained level of competency