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QLD woman sues Lorne surf carnival over volunteer first aid; says it was assault [Feb. 20th, 2009|10:05 pm]



Queensland woman sues Lorne surf carnival over volunteer first aid; says it was assault

By Fiona Hudson

The Courier-Mail

February 20, 2009 12:01am

Brodie Cambourne
Suing ... Brodie Cambourne claims a first aid volunteer permanently damaged her shoulder / Herald Sun
  • Woman given emergency treatment
  • Claims volunteers damaged her shoulder
  • Launched legal action, seeking compensation

A QUEENSLAND woman given emergency first aid by St John Ambulance officers while visiting Victoria is suing and says her treatment was unlawful assault.

Brodie Cambourne, 34, alleges volunteer medics permanently damaged her shoulder when they rushed to assist her at a Lorne surf carnival.

Queenslander Ms Cambourne has launched legal action in Victoria's County Court seeking compensation, The Courier-Mail reports.

The incident allegedly took place during Rescue 06 - the world lifesaving championships held at Lorne in February 2006.

Ms Cambourne was representing Australia in several events, including surf ski races and a beach relay.

She claims to have dislocated her shoulder during one of the events and alleges the St John Ambulance volunteers who tried to help made the injury worse.

Surf Life Saving Australia and the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

The writ claims treatment administered by the unnamed first-aid officers constituted "unlawful assault and battery".

She alleges the St John Ambulance staff were negligent in causing or permitting injury to her during treatment.

Ms Cambourne claims to have suffered permanent shoulder damage, ongoing pain and discomfort, a loss of motion and nervous shock.

The qualified exercise physiologist is understood to have needed several operations.

Her solicitor, Barrie Woollacott, of Slater & Gordon, said yesterday the case was unusual and raised an interesting principle.

"If people are going to provide first aid it's important they don't step beyond their capabilities in circumstances where it might make matters worse," he said.

Ms Cambourne did not wish to speak publicly about the lawsuit.

St John Ambulance chief executive Stephen Horton said the charity had not yet been served with legal paperwork.

"We are unaware of the action at this time and so cannot comment," he said.

Surf Life Saving Australia spokesman Sean O'Connell said he could not comment specifically on the pending case, but he said all SLSA events operated under a stringent risk management framework, including provision of trained volunteer water safety and first aid officers.

This disgusts me, how will SLA and St Johns be able to work if they run the risk of being sued if and when the treatment they provide doesn't work.