Dr George Fernie, Senior Medicolegal Adviser, introduces this issue’s round-up of case reports. A number of cases feature problems with diagnoses and investigations, while there are also a few cases where we have successfully defended a claim.
“Skipping over the details”, carries a warning about the dangers of falling foul of the ‘HALT’ mnemonic – Hungry, Angry, Late, Tired. Dr G was reported by his patient, and the patient’s wife, to be tired and dismissive during his consultation, and it appears that this may have played a part in Dr G failing to fully engage with his patient, Mr K, and his presentation, and falsely reassuring him. He also failed to keep an adequate note of the consultation, leaving little opportunity to resolve the factual dispute.
Poor testing and investigations were the cause of a delayed diagnosis in “Squash and a squeeze”. The failure by GP Dr V to carry out a squeeze test on the patient’s calf was considered to have led to a delay in diagnosis of an Achilles tendon rupture – a diagnosis that was only made following referral to an orthopaedic consultant.