GP Negligence Claims
We all rely on our GPs as the front line of medical services and the gateway to further treatment and diagnosis. All of us will see a GP at some point in our lives. The relationship between a patient and GP is one of trust.
Most GP appointments are short. During a 5- 10 minute consultation, a GP should listen to concerns, consider your symptoms, come to a working diagnosis, and provide advice and treatment.
A GP can only do so much during an appointment. If you have complex health issues or need more specialist care, you may be referred to another service for further investigation. This could include investigations such as blood tests, X-rays, scans, surgery, hospital admission etc.
If you feel you are not getting the right help from your GP, it’s essential to ask questions.
The GP usually sees the first signs of a medical problem. Things can, however, go wrong. In our experience, the most common causes of things going wrong are:-
a.) Failing to take a proper history or investigate symptoms
b.) Failure to carry out a proper examination
c.) Failure to act on Clinical signs
Some symptoms are known as red flags – an indicator of a certain condition or treatment. Ignoring such symptoms can mean an opportunity to prevent a condition is lost.
Just a few examples are:
- Intermenstrual bleeding (bleeding that occurs anytime outside of a woman’s menstrual cycle) is a possible sign of cervical cancer and requires a physical examination to be carried out.
- ‘Thunderclap headache’ could indicate a subarachnoid haemorrhage
- Loss of feeling in the legs and sudden incontinence can suggest the serious condition cauda equina
- A change in the appearance of a mole – could indicate skin cancer
Failure to act upon such signs or failing to interpret abnormal tests means an opportunity to treat or prevent can be missed.
What is GP Negligence?
GPs owe patients a duty of care which requires them to exercise due skill, knowledge and care commensurate with the circumstances. This includes providing appropriate advice about what treatment options are available, how those treatments might affect the patient, and ensuring that the patient understands the risks involved.
How does negligence work?
Negligence claims follow a similar pattern regardless of whether you suffered harm because of a negligent act (such as administering the wrong medication), or because of a failure to take action (for example, failing to warn someone about the risk of a particular procedure).
If you win a negligence case, you could receive compensation for your suffering and injuries sustained.
What are my chances of winning?
The chances of success depend on many factors, including the quality of evidence presented, the strength of the defendant’s defence and the nature of the injuries sustained.
Can I sue a GP?
Yes. However, it is important to note that GPs do not operate under the same legal obligations as doctors working in hospitals.
We represented the family of a young mum who died due to the failure of her GP to recognise and treat a blood clot. Instead, the GP prescribed rest, ice and comfortable shoes, with catastrophic consequences. 10 days later, the clot travelled from her leg into her lung, causing pulmonary thromboembolism secondary to Deep Vein Thrombosis, from which she sadly passed away.
During the inquest, it emerged that, had she been properly assessed, additional precautions would have been taken that would have saved her life. At the Inquest, the GP told the court that he would conduct more thorough tests in the future. Pattinson and Brewer ensured that he was referred to the General Medical Council for a review. We also achieved a damages settlement of £100,000 on behalf of the family.
How our experts can help you if you want to make a claim for compensation against a GP.
Pattinson & Brewer’s experienced solicitors have built a formidable reputation fighting for compensation settlements for the victims and their families.
If you want to make a GP negligence claim contact our expert team, who will provide a jargon-free initial consultation. Contact us on 0800 988 0777 or complete our online form, and one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors will get in touch.
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