WHEN 15-year-old Jemima Hanna twisted her ankle while hiking on a school camp in 2001, she had to ''soldier on'', a court heard yesterday.

Despite complaining frequently about being in pain, Ms Hanna was allegedly encouraged by supervisors to keep walking and assured their destination was ''just around the corner''.

Now the former Methodist Ladies' College student is suing the school and the Somerset Camp for negligence, claiming their failure to treat her injury left her crippled.

Her counsel, Paul Menzies, QC, told the Supreme Court she developed complex regional pain syndrome after the incident, affecting her schooling and her future job prospects.

Ms Hanna was one of 20 students attending the three-day camp, a compulsory part of the Burwood school's curriculum, in February 2001. The group was accompanied by two teachers and supervised by a camp instructor when Ms Hanna sprained her right ankle during a hike through bushland in heavy rain.

Mr Menzies said the defendants ''failed in an egregious fashion'' to follow simple guidelines for treating a sprain through rest, compression, elevation and the application of ice.

''What she was required to do …. was to soldier on,'' Mr Menzies said. ''She was rolling over on her ankle, she was complaining of pain, she was asking for assistance. They continued to encourage her to walk. Because of the defendants' negligence, she's now effectively crippled.''

The camp and the school are defending claims that they failed to provide Ms Hanna with adequate medical treatment and to respond to her complaints of intense pain. Ms Hanna is seeking unspecified damages. She walked to the witness box yesterday with the aid of a stick.

In evidence, she recalled hearing a cracking sound when she hurt her ankle and being encouraged to keep walking to the lunch site, which was half an hour away. She was hobbling and discovered at lunch that her foot was the colour of ''blue jeans''. The camp instructor strapped her ankle with Elastoplast.

Ms Hanna said she hiked for five more hours after lunch and the next day tried to withdraw from physical activities.

''The response was, 'Everyone has to do it','' she said. '' I was in excruciating pain. I got told off for not helping enough.''

The hearing continues.






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