UK GP Medical Negligence

It is understandably difficult to make compensation claims for GP medical negligence. Some GPs have treated members of the same family for generations, during which time relationships have developed and the GP has become a trusted member of an individual´s circle.

Unfortunately, GPs are not infallible, and sometimes they make mistakes. When these mistakes result in you or a loved one suffering an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition, it is possible to claim compensation for GP medical negligence.

In order to claim GP medical negligence compensation, it has to be demonstrated that “at the time and in the circumstances” your GP provided you with a standard of care that was below what is generally accepted by the medical community.

If this is the case, and you suffered an adverse event that “on the balance of probabilities” would not have occurred if another course of action had been taken, you will be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering and the deterioration of your quality of life you experienced as a result.

To find out more about claiming compensation for GP medical negligence, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity. Your solicitor will listen to the circumstances of your adverse event and advise you whether you have a GP medical negligence compensation claim that may be worth your while to pursue.

NHS Settles Medical Negligence Claim for Undiagnosed Deep Vein Thrombosis

An NHS Hospital Trust has settled a medical negligence claim for undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis that resulted in the death of a mother of three.

On March 15th 2010, Alison Taylor (29) gave birth to her third child, a daughter – Yvie-Mae. A few days later, she was referred to the Maternity Unit of Leicester Royal Infirmary by a community midwife after complaining of cramps and swelling in her right leg.

On her arrival at the hospital, Alison – herself a healthcare assistant at the Leicester Royal Infirmary – shared her concerns with staff that she might be suffering from a blot clot. However registrar Dr Vijay Kumar Kalathy discounted DVT as a diagnosis, failed to conduct a blood test, and told Alison he was unable to perform an ultrasound scan on her leg because it was the weekend.

Alison continued to suffer with the pain and swelling in her right leg, and attended her GP – Dr Philip Hussey – on 31st March. Dr Hussey also misdiagnosed Alison´s condition as cramp and prescribed her painkillers. Tragically, Alison was found collapsed later that evening by her husband, and died in hospital the same night due to a pulmonary embolism caused by deep vein thrombosis.

The inquest into Alison´s death recorded a narrative verdict, although Assistant Deputy Coroner Robert Chapman noted that a scan at the Leicester Royal Infirmary could possibly have saved her life. The University of Leicester NHS Hospitals Trust has since acted on the Assistant Deputy Coroner´s recommendations and re-introduce weekend scanning in its Maternity Unit.

Following the inquest, Alison´s husband – Darren Taylor made a medical negligence claim for undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis, alleging that Dr Kalathy had failed in his duty of care by not following hospital procedures when the possibility of deep vein thrombosis exists. The NHS Trust refused to accept liability for six years, but has now settled the medical negligence claim for undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis for a six-figure sum.

Speaking after his medical negligence claim for undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis had been resolved, Darren told his local paper: “ It has been a long, hard seven years but I am happy we have got the NHS to own up and the trust says lessons have been learnt. Alison was a healthcare assistant so she was very aware of the risks of DVT. But the doctors seemed quite dismissive of her symptoms. If they had done what they were supposed to do Alison should be here now.”

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Compensation for the Failure to Diagnose a Cancerous Mole Settled Out of Court

A woman has recovered a settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole after two doctors told her she had nothing to worry about.

The unnamed woman claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole after attending her local surgery with concerns about a mole on her foot that had changed in appearance and become itchy. The GP she saw initially told her she had nothing to worry about and sent her home.

As the mole continued to concern the woman, she returned to the surgery a few weeks later. A second GP refused to refer her to a specialist and repeated the opinion that she had nothing to worry about before sending her home. Neither doctor measured the size of the mole.

It was only on a third visit to her local surgery that the woman´s concerns were taken seriously. The third GP she saw decided that she could not remove the mole but suggested cutting away the top of it. The woman declined the suggested treatment and was referred instead to her local hospital.

At the hospital, a dermatologist removed part of the mole and sent it for tests. The result of the biopsy was that the mole was cancerous, and the woman underwent an operation to have the entire mole removed. Unfortunately, subsequent tests revealed that the cancer from the mole had metastasised, and the woman is now undergoing treatment for secondary cancer.

The woman sought legal advice about her rights and, on the advice of her solicitor, claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole against the GP who had first attended her and the surgery. She alleged in her claim that, had she received an appropriate standard of care on her first visit, the cancer would have been identified sooner and her prognosis better.

The GP and the surgery both denied negligence and contested that the woman was entitled to any compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole. However, after the defendants were threatened with court action, their insurance companies settled the claim for an undisclosed six-figure sum.

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Man to Receive Compensation for a Stroke due to Medical Negligence

The High Court of Justice has approved a care package and settlement of compensation for a stroke due to medical negligence in favour of a 74-year-old man.

The unnamed 74-year-old man was found to have an irregular heartbeat in February 2011 after attending the University College Hospital in London. As he had a history of heart problems – due to which he had been fitted with a stent and a pacemaker – he was prescribed warfarin.

However, due to a communications failure between medical professionals – and despite a second visit to the hospital and numerous visits to his GP – he was unable to access the anti-coagulant drug and, four months later, suffered a stroke.

The consequences of the stroke have been devastating for the man and his family. He is now fully dependant on his wife and children for simple day-to-day tasks and, in addition to his physical limitations, has also lost some of his cognitive abilities.

On the man´s behalf, his family claimed compensation for a stroke due to medical negligence against the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The NHS Trust admitted liability for the errors that led to his stroke and a settlement of compensation that includes a care package was agreed.

The settlement – estimated to be worth seven figures – was recently approved at the High Court of Justice, after which the family´s solicitor commented: “We are glad the settlement has now been approved as the family can live safe in the knowledge that their future is secure and their husband and father will be able to access the care he needs.”

He added: “Sadly, this man was simply not provided with suitable treatment and as a result suffered a severe stroke which has left him with life-changing injuries. He was unable to access the anti-coagulant medication that would have reduced his risk of suffering a stroke and the physical and mental problems he now suffers as a result”.

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Widower Awarded Compensation for the Failure to Dispatch an Ambulance

A widower has been awarded an undisclosed settlement of compensation for the failure to dispatch an ambulance when his wife was complaining of chest pains.

On 28th December 2011, Ann Kinsey (68) returned to her home in Wolverhampton from her job at the local Waitrose supermarket complaining of chest pains. Ann´s husband, Brian, called NHS Direct (now replaced with the 111 non-emergency service) and received a call back from an out-of-hours GP. The GP advised Brian that Ann seemed to be suffering from either acid reflux or gastroenteritis.

The GP also told Brian to get Ann some antacids and pain relief tablets; but, when Brian returned from the pharmacy, he found Ann lying unresponsive on the floor. Brian immediately called 999 and, when paramedics arrived, they worked to resuscitate Ann for an hour before taking her to New Cross Hospital. At the hospital, an emergency team try to resuscitate Ann for a further thirty minutes, but without success.

Brian sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the failure to dispatch an ambulance when he first contacted NHS Direct. The NHS Direct Trust acknowledged that there had been a breach of duty in respect of the failure of the out-of-hours GP to provide the correct diagnosis and advice, but denied that dispatching an ambulance at the time and in the circumstances would have prevented Ann´s death.

On Brian´s behalf, medical negligence solicitors pursued his case, and now Brian has received an undisclosed settlement of compensation for the failure to dispatch an ambulance. Speaking to his local paper, Brian said:

“If an ambulance had been dispatched that night, it may not have stopped her going into cardiac arrest, but at least she would have been in the best possible hands and at least stood a chance of living. Nothing can bring Ann back, but it was very important to me that NHS Direct acknowledged its mistakes so that no one else would suffer as she did”.

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Woman Alleges Failure to Investigate the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

A woman has instructed solicitors to investigate whether she is entitled to compensation for the failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer.

Tayne Eaton (25) from Ipswich first started displaying the symptoms of cervical cancer in the summer of 2013. She visited her GP on several occasions complaining of bleeding and pain but, at the time, Tayne was too young to automatically qualify for the NHS´s screening test.

Tayne´s symptoms worsened following the birth of her son in September 2014, but she was not sent for a smear test until March 2015 – when a tumour of almost 9cm was discovered. Tayne underwent chemotherapy treatment and has had several other operations – including a hysterectomy – to stop the cancer from spreading.

Now Tayne has instructed solicitors to investigate whether she is entitled to compensation for the failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer. She believes that the condition was not considered by her GP because of her age; and, had she been sent for a smear test earlier, she would not have required such invasive treatment and would be able to have more children in the future.

Tayne claims that had there not been a failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer by her GP, the diagnosis would have been made earlier, and her prognosis would have substantially improved. She said: “I knew something was seriously wrong but I just seemed to go from test to test without anyone really knowing what was happening.”

Speaking about the alleged failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer, Tayne´s solicitor added: “Cervical cancer is a treatable disease with a good long term prognosis when it is diagnosed early, but delays can have terrible consequences. Any symptoms should not be dismissed; it is vital that women know what to look out for and take medical advice but, equally, that doctors pay attention to their concerns”.

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Nursing Home Ordered to Pay Compensation for the Failure to Act on a Broken Hip

A nursing home, a local council and a GP have each been ordered to pay compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip by the Local Government Ombudsman.

In February 2012, seventy-seven year old Monica O´Donnell fell at the Parkview House Nursing Home in Uxbridge and broke her hip. Staff at the care home failed to call a doctor immediately, and it was only when Monica complained of a pain in her right thigh and being unable to walk that medical help was sought.

However, when Monica´s GP attended her, he was only told of her symptoms and not that care home staff had found her unable to move on the floor. As Monica suffers from Alzheimer´s disease, she was unable to remember that she had fallen, and it was not until thirty-two days after her accident that she was admitted to Hillingdon Hospital where the broken hip was diagnosed.

Monica underwent a hip replacement operation but, because of her frail condition, she died six weeks later. Medical staff at Hillingdon Hospital raised a safeguarding alert, recommending that Hillingdon Council investigate the standard of care provided at the Parkview Nursing Home. However, due to the nursing home doctoring its records, the council´s investigation concluded that the nursing home acted appropriately.

Dissatisfied with this conclusion, Monica´s daughter – Angela Kelly – went to great lengths to find out why her mother´s care had been below standard. Angela approached NHS England, the Quality Care Commission, the council and her MP Sir John Randall before finally finding that the Local Government Ombudsman was willing to investigate her claim of nursing home neglect.

Following their investigation – in which the conflicting nursing home records were uncovered – the Local Government Ombudsman found the Parkview House Nursing Home in breach of its duty of care and ordered it to pay £1,000 compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip. The Ombudsman also found that the council´s investigation into the incident was inadequate and ordered it to pay Angela £500 compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip.

Finally, Monica´s GP – the Oakland Medical Centre in Uxbridge – was ordered to pay £750 compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip after it was found to have kept inadequate records and failing to be suspicious about the circumstance in which Monica acquired her injury. All three parties were also ordered to send Angela a written apology for the substandard care her mother had received at the nursing home.

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Couple Seek Legal Advice over Missed Diagnosis of Cancer of the Womb

A couple from Sunderland have been in contact with a solicitor following an alleged missed diagnosis of cancer of the womb that will prove to be terminal.

Jeanette Scully (47) from Castletown in Tyne and Wear attended the A&E Department of the Sunderland Royal Hospital earlier this year with terrible pains in her lower stomach. A scan revealed that she had a mass in her abdomen, which doctors diagnosed as an infected fibroid. Jeanette was given antibiotics and discharged.

When the pain continued, Jeanette attended her GP. Allegedly the GP told her that the power of positive thought would help her cope with the pain; but, on Good Friday this year, Jeanette was screaming with pain and her partner of twenty-two years took her back to Sunderland A&E – where she was eventually admitted for pain management treatment after being initially discharged.

Consultants at the Sunderland Royal Hospital said they could not find any reason for her pain, but a scan conducted in May after a further visit to the A&E Department revealed that Jeanette had a soft tissue sarcoma in her womb. The following month, Jeanette and David were given the devastating news that Jeanette had cancer of the womb that was so far advanced it was unlikely to respond to chemotherapy.

On receipt of the news, the couple sought legal advice about the possible missed diagnosis of cancer of the womb. Their solicitor has initiated an investigation into the standard of care Jeanette received at the Sunderland Royal Hospital and from her GP – Dr Weatherhead and Associates of Southwick, Tyne and Wear.

Speaking to her local press, Jeanette said: “I just want to know that what happened to me will be properly investigated and something will be done about it as I would never want anyone else to go through what we have. I really believe that if I had been properly investigated when I first reported symptoms things would have been very different.”

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Woman Settles Claim for Late Diagnosis of Rectal Cancer

A seventy-six year old woman has settled her claim for the late diagnosis of rectal cancer by her GP for an undisclosed amount out of court.

The woman – identified only as “Lesley” – made a claim for the late diagnosis of rectal cancer after visiting her GP frequently over the course of two years, complaining of an increased bowel frequency and the sensation of an incomplete emptying of her bowels.

Despite her concerns, Lesley´s GP failed to examine her or refer her to a specialist during that time. Eventually Lesley´s condition was accurately diagnosed, and she had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy in addition to undergoing radical surgery to site a permanent colostomy.

Fortunately the cancer diagnosis was made in time so that the condition could be treated before it spread to other areas of her body, but Lesley still suffers the consequences of the poor standard of treatment she received as well as experiencing a considerable deterioration in her quality of life.

The claim for the late diagnosis of rectal cancer was pursued on Lesley´s behalf by her solicitor, who was able to demonstrate that if her GP had conducted an examination when Lesley first expressed her concerns – or at least referred Lesley to a specialist – her condition could have been treated without the need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or the need for a colostomy.

Liability was conceded, and an undisclosed settlement of the claim for the late diagnosis of rectal cancer was made out of court. Afterwards, Lesley´s solicitor commented: “Luckily, Lesley’s cancer had not spread so far as to make it untreatable, but she has still been left with side effects from the treatment that affects her daily life.”

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Settlement of Compensation for the Failure to Spot a Detached Retina Agreed

A woman has agreed to a settlement of compensation for the failure to spot a detached retina that resulted in her losing the sight in her left eye.

The woman identified only as “Ms S” is a diabetes sufferer who, prior to 2008, had undergone two successful operations for cataracts. As she noticed her vision was failing in her left eye in November 2009, she visited an optometrist, who prescribed glasses.

The glasses failed to resolve the problem in the woman´s left eye and “Ms S” visited her GP in December 2009, who prescribed eye drops. She was seen by a different GP a week later, who referred her to an ophthalmic specialist after noticing a cloudiness on the lens of her left eye.

While she was waiting for an appointment to see the ophthalmic specialist, “Ms S” completely lost the vision in her left eye. On 29th December she telephoned her GP, who made an urgent referral for her to attend a specialist eye hospital.

At the hospital, “Ms S” was informed that her loss of vision was attributable to a detached retina in her left eye that had occurred some three to four weeks previously and which was, by that point, inoperable.

“Ms S” sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the failure to spot a detached retina after it was shown that, had she receive competent medical attention at the beginning of December, the sight in her left eye could have been saved.

It was also discovered during the course of her solicitor´s investigations that one of the GPs “Ms S” had seen had altered her medical notes retrospectively. Liability for the woman´s loss of sight in her left eye was admitted by the GP surgery, and a substantial five-figure settlement of compensation for the failure to spot a detached retina was agreed.

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Woman Makes Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Cancer due to GP Negligence

A woman who was told she needed to see a psychiatrist to resolve her anxiety issues has made a claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer due to GP negligence.

In September 2013, Kim Major (48) from Ewell in Surrey tried to make an appointment to see her GP as she was suffering from recurring headaches, coughing, chest pain and neck pain. Instead she was given an appointment to see the Practice Nurse at Fitznells Manor Surgery, who told Kim that she likely had a virus.

Kim´s symptoms persisted and, in early 2014, she was advised by her optician to go back to GP for a full health check as her eyesight was deteriorating. Kim made an appointment, but no investigations were conducted, after which she developed abdominal pain – for which she attended her GP again in March when she was told to seek help for her anxiety issues.

Following a further visit to her GP in June, Kim underwent a colonoscopy procedure which revealed nothing. A written referral to Kim´s GP from her optician due to Kim´s increased frequency of dizzy spells failed to prompt an investigation into her symptoms and it was only when Kim was rushed to hospital in September with chest pains that an x-ray was taken.

The x-ray revealed that there was a substantial mass on her right lung, and Kim was referred to a respiratory specialist – who told her that she was suffering from lung cancer. Doctors have subsequently found two tumours on Kim´s brain and two more on Kim´s liver, and she is undergoing intense chemotherapy treatment not knowing how long she may have to live.

After seeking legal advice, Kim made a claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer due to GP negligence. In her claim it is alleged that if her concerns had been taken seriously by her GP, the lung cancer could have been detected and treated at an earlier stage and would not have spread to her brain and liver.

After news of the claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer due to GP negligence became public, Kim said “My family and I are completely traumatized and I feel wholly let down by the NHS. I visited my GP on so many occasions complaining of various symptoms but I was told so many different things and it took them collectively over a year to diagnose my condition.”

A spokesman for Fitznells Manor Surgery said: “The surgery was saddened to hear of this case and our thoughts go to the family. Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment further.” An NHS England Surrey and Sussex spokesperson said that it would be inappropriate to comment due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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