Long awaited reform finally arrived this year with introduction of the Medical Practitioners Act 2008 (WA).  This was much needed and welcomed, replacing the antiquated and outdated previous legislation, the Medical Act 1894.

The system for registration of practitioners and importantly, in the context in which I practice, the handling of complaints and disciplinary


The Court of Appeal delivered its decision in the Appeal concerning this matter on 17 July 2009. Unfortunately for the Plaintiff, the anaesthetist’s Appeal was upheld with a re-Trial being ordered.

Justice Newnes delivered the lead judgment. Justice Miller agreed with him. Justice McLure was in minority. She did not consider a re-Trial should be ordered and would simply have dismissed Ms Wells’ claim entirely.

Unfortunately, from a reading of Judge Mazza, the original trial judge’s, reasons for his initial finding in favour of Ms Wells, it was clear this Appeal had substantial prospects of success. In particular, Judge Mazza for some reason appears to have mistakenly believed that because Ms Wells had been administered intravenous fluids, this increased the likely volume of fluid in her stomach. This seems a fairly straight forward "biology" error on the Trial Judge’s behalf.

Continue Reading Juengling -v- Wells – anaesthetic intubation + aspiration