Model Zaine Pringle sues Princess Alexandra Hospital over hand surgery

A Brisbane model who has posed in underwear and swimwear campaigns claims a “surgical error” on his injured finger has affected his confidence, self-esteem and future career.

Zaine Alan Pringle has only done two photo shoots – for headwear, such as hats and sunglasses – since the allegedly botched hand surgery at Princess Alexandra Hospital in June 2018.

The 29-year-old is 6ft 1in (185cm) with blonde hair and blue eyes and began modelling when he was 18. He has been repeatedly used by surf, skate and street fashion retailer City Beach.

FiveTwenty Modelling agency started managing him in 2014, and in 2017, he won the national male modelling competition Manhunt Australia to represent the country in Thailand.

Mr Pringle is suing Queensland’s Metro South Hospital and Health Service for $592,803.79 including general damages, past and future loss of income and superannuation, past and future gratuitous care and assistance, and future medical treatment and medication.

He claims the PA Hospital in Woollongabba owed him a duty of care through “reasonable care and skill in the provision of medical services”.

According to his statement of claim, filed in the District Court last week and obtained by on Thursday, Mr Pringle injured his left hand playing AFL in late 2017.

For the next five to six weeks, he “experienced pain in his left ring finger with minimal strength and movement” before his first surgery in March 2018.

The second stage of tendon reconstruction was performed on June 5 that year, involving a tendon graft harvested from his left forearm, his claim states.

However, Mr Pringle claims: “The proximal tendon graft end was attached to the superficial flexor, whereas in fact; it ought to have been attached to the deep flexor tendon stump.”

The alleged error was discovered in July 2018 and he had corrective surgery in November.

“By reason of the surgical error, the plaintiff required three additional surgeries, has sensitivity in the left ring finger, suffers pain at the bottom of the thumb and palm, has reduced functionality in the left hand, has scarring of the left and right forearm and down the finger and palm, and has suffered an adjustment disorder with anxiety and depressed mood,” his statement of claim reads.

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Mr Pringle claims the duty of care was breached as a result of the alleged mistakes and a failure to ensure the proper supervision of the surgeon.

Due to his extensive rehabilitation, he “could not commit to many shoots” and attended two for a total of $824.40.

“The plaintiff was able to participate in these shoots as they were for headwear such as hats and sunglasses,” the document states.

“Additionally, the plaintiff began experiencing psychological symptoms related to his injuries, including depression and low self-esteem about the way his hand looked, and anxiety and lack of confidence in relation to social interaction.

“These factors impacted the plaintiff’s ability to return to modelling and ultimately, the plaintiff was unable to maintain his paid work as a model due to his injuries.”

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Prior to the incident, he also worked as a passive fire technician with FVS Fire Pty Ltd installing doors, which he says involved a “significant amount of heavy and sometimes awkward manual work”.

Mr Pringle claims he missed a performance appraisal due to his medical appointments and continues to experience “an ongoing impairment to his ability to work due to his injuries”.

This includes difficulty lifting and carrying materials and equipment, repetitive hand movements such as cutting, screwing and joining fixtures, and using hand and power tools.

“The plaintiff is slower and less efficient at work both due to his physical symptoms and his psychiatric symptoms,” the court document states.

He also had plans to grow his modelling portfolio in Japan.

His claim for $310,000 in future economic loss includes the 38 “prospective working years remaining”, which would take him to the age of 67 – the pension age from 2023 onwards.

Mr Pringle claims he has limited transferable skills and future work options and is not academically inclined or suited to office-based employment.

He is being represented by Shine Lawyers and is seeking in total.

A spokeswoman for Metro South Hospital and Health Service told on Thursday as the matter is before the court, no comment would be made.


• $51,530.00 for general damages in pain, suffering and loss of the amenities of life.

• $80,575.16 for past loss of income.

• $7654.64 for past loss of occupational superannuation benefits.

• $310,000 for future loss of income.

• $36,580.00 for future loss of occupational superannuation benefits.

• $41,898.31 for past gratuitous care.

• $50,000.00 for future gratuitous/paid care and assistance.

• $13,275.30 for future medical treatment, medication and other expenses.

• $180.75 to refund Medicare Australia.

• $1109.63 for out-of-pocket expenses.

• Interest on out-of-pocket expenses calculated at the prevailing 10-year bond rate.

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