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GP Negligence

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GPs have to be familiar with a vast array of medicine…

They often do not have a particular area of specialism but rather have to undergo training that covers all the major areas of medicine.

GPs are usually the first port of call when a patient develops an illness. If a GP fails to refer a patient to hospital for further investigations, this can lead to serious consequences.

A specific area that gives rise to medical negligence claims is delayed referrals. The referral can be delayed over a relatively short period of time, for example in the case of meningitis or it can be a failure to refer over a long period of time, for example, bladder problems, breast lumps etc.

Medical negligence claims against GPs can also include a failure to refer back to hospital, for example, a failure to refer for a repeat X-ray for on-going pain.

There are also claims in respect of medication errors.

Allegations of  GP negligence cases often arise when there has been inadequate history taking and/or examination of the patient; often there is a failure to appreciate the seriousness of a condition.

Our expert team will discuss your case with you and let you know the next step, call us today.

GP Negligence - Case Study

Mrs X visited her GP with infected eczema of left calf which was inflamed. Low dose antibiotics were prescribed together with dressings.  3 weeks later she attended the surgery again.

The Practice Nurse, during a dressing change, expressed concerns that Mrs X may have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and suggested that Mrs X go back to see the GP. By the following day, she had swelling and pain in her calf. The GP documented that there was no DVT.  She developed shortness of breath and, very sadly died 5 days later.

A post mortem examination showed the main cause of death to her being a bilateral pulmonary embolism and venous thrombo embolism.  A left calf DVT was demonstrated on the post mortem as the source of the fatal pulmonary embolism.

The case was presented to the Defendants on the basis that Mrs X had complained of swelling and pain in her left calf with new onset of shortness of breath and that the GP failed to carry out a physical examination of her leg. This would have included physically comparing the left calf with the right calf to ensure there was no colour or temperature difference, no dilated vein and no objective swelling by (circumference measurements). Had such an examination taken place as set out above, this would have led a competent GP to suspect Mrs X of having a DVT and an immediate referral to a hospital for DVT exclusion should have been made. This would have led to a DVT being diagnosed, Mrs X receiving appropriate treatment and resulted in her avoiding cardiac arrest.

The claim was on behalf of the Estate of Mrs X.

The claim was settled for a six figure sum.