Case study one
Mr L, aged 82, visited his GP with breathlessness and a sore throat. He suffered from bronchiectasis and had developed regular chest infections over the years, usually treated with ciproxin. He saw GP Dr O, who prescribed 250mgs of ciprofloxacin. A year later, Mr L returned to the surgery and once again saw Dr O with a chest infection – this time he was prescribed 500mgs of ciprofloxacin, for two weeks, following a medication review.
Following completion of this second course of ciprofloxacin, Mr L developed pain around his ankle, radiating up his leg – he phoned the surgery for advice, and was told to take painkillers and call back a couple of days later if there was no improvement. Over the following month, Mr L’s pain did not subside and he repeatedly called his GP surgery for advice – twice he received home visits from Dr O, but at no time did he examine Mr L’s ankle or consider a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon.
Twice he received home visits from Dr O, but at no time did he examine Mr L’s ankle or consider a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon
After a further fortnight, Mr L attended the Emergency Department with worsening pain in both heels and an increasing inability to walk. He was referred to the fracture clinic with a diagnosis of bilateral Achilles tendon rupture. Following the incident, Mr L made a claim against Dr O for failing to diagnose his condition despite numerous opportunities to carry out an examination or make a referral.
Mr L’s legs would only support him for a few minutes at a time and he had to move to a nursing home because he was no longer able to take care of himself. Furthermore, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who acted as an expert on the case, said that Mr L’s deformities were inoperable due to his age, and that it was to be expected that Mr L was likely to end up in a wheelchair sooner than he would have had it not been for the bilateral ruptures.
The claim was settled for a substantial sum.