When anyone is unwell, their GP is often the first port of call, and it is their duty to assess any symptoms, treat and if necessary refer the patient on to a hospital specialist if they consider those symptoms need further investigation.
Claims may arise when a GP fails to appreciate the seriousness of the situation, resulting in a delayed hospital referral. There may also be a claim if the GP diagnoses a condition, which later turns out to be wrong. As someone also responsible for prescribing drugs, errors made by GP’s in this area can also give rise to claim.
Claims against GP’s can be complex. A GP is not a specialist in any particular area of medicine and as such it is not expected that they have specialist knowledge. Furthermore, a patient’s symptoms may be one of any number of conditions. A GP has to assess the patient, consider the full picture including duration of symptoms, previous medical history and concurrent symptoms.
If you believe you may have a claim against your GP, you should contact a member of the clinical negligence team at Geldards for a free initial consultation.
CLAIMANT v A GP
The Claimant was born in January 2005 and at aged 14 months contracted acute pneumococcal meningitis as a result of which he has been left with profound sensori-neural hearing loss.
The parents had consulted the defendant GP who reassured the parents despite the child’s reported symptoms and no arrangements were made by the Defendant to see the Claimant, review him or admit him to hospital. That advice was negligent and led to a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the child who otherwise would not have suffered hearing loss and the requirement of cochlear implants.
Development of the child’s language skills have been slightly impeded and he would also have avoided problems with executive function and emotional/behavioural and communication difficulties.
The liability aspects of the claim were settled on the basis that the Defendant would pay 70% of the damages assessed for all permanent consequences arising out of the meningitis and Judgement to that effect was entered 8th June 2014. The parties then proceeded towards quantification of damages with a Trial date fixed, which then converted into a Court Approval hearing following without prejudice discussions, after a Joint Settlement Meeting had failed to reach settlement.
Settlement reached £600,000
CW v HYWEL DA LOCAL HEALTH BOARD AND A GP
The child was born on the 2 November 1993, admitted to the Withybush General Hospital on the 22 May 1995 with a viral infection. Prior to admission to Withybush General Hospital his mother had noted glycosuria and the Claimant’s GP had confirmed that his blood sugar was raised at 11. At the Withybush Hospital, Dr Palit, Consultant Paediatrician, confirmed that glucose and protein were found in his urine but that other tests proved normal. He was discharged from hospital pending an outpatient appointment.
On the 10 August 1995 the Second Defendant reviewed him at the Surgery. He noted the investigations at the hospital and also that the child suffered on and off from vomiting and further prescriptions of Maxolon were issued to him by the Second Defendant’s surgery on 1
February 1996, 13 February 1996, 29 February 1996 and 4 May 1996.
The child attended various therapists specialising in particular allergies, as Mum believed that the doctors who investigated his condition when he was younger may have thought he suffered from allergies.
The child’s condition however did not improve. He attended on the Second Defendant on many occasions and he had many different theories as to his problem, for example Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He was prescribed various different drugs, without improvement.
In early 2001, he started to lose weight. Mum took the child back to the GP’s Practice and blood tests were finally undertaken. Eventually cystinosis was diagnosed. The Claimant alleged that the Defendant was negligent in that there was a negligent failure to diagnose his condition of cystinosis when it was known or ought to have been known that his symptoms of vomiting together with an odd excretion pattern and glycosuria were suggestive of cystinosis. There was a failure to refer him to a Paediatric Nephrologist and to arrange appropriate testing. There was a negligent delay between May 1996 and 2001 in arranging any follow up of the child and a failure to monitor his cystinosis during that time. The diagnosis which should have been made in 1995 was not made until April 2011, and had denied the child of the opportunity to be treated for his condition.
As a result of the delay in diagnosis of 5 years and 4 months he is 1 to 1.5 height standard deviations smaller than he otherwise would have been had the diagnosis been made promptly. Prompt diagnosis would not have meant that the Claimant would be a normal height but he would have been 7.4 to 11 centimetres taller than he is now. His early years of life and the whole of his education has been adversely affected to a very significant extent. Had his condition been diagnosed and treated with Mercaptamine in 1995, then the rate at which his kidney function subsequently declined would have been reduced.
The Defendant made an offer in the sum of £10,000 which was rejected by the Claimant. Proceedings were issued on the 30 September 2011.
The Defendants requested an extension of time until the 16 April 2012 for the filing of the Defences which the Claimant agreed to. The Second Defendant also made a Part 18 Request for Further Information. Allocation Questionnaires were filed with the Court. It was agreed between the parties to have the matter stayed to enable the appropriate enquiries to take place.
The First Defendant made an offer on the 3 May 2012 in the sum of £25,000 which was subsequently rejected by the Claimant.
A Case Management Conference took place on the 21 February 2013. A Round Table Meeting took place on the 21 May 2014 at which the Claimant accepted the sum of £100,000 plus his reasonable costs of the action in full and final settlement.
CLAIMANT v VARIOUS GPS AND ABERTAWE BRO MORGANWG
The claim was against various GPs in failing in their duty of care to the Claimant.
This included an associated claim against Bridgend Hospital in relation to their failure to properly repair a tear to the sigmoid colon which occurred during surgery and which also caused a hernia. The Claimant suffered significant physical and psychological injuries restricting her ability to work and function normally.
Damages £125,000 (including CRU recoupment). Issued and served.