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Casebook Vol. 22 no. 1 - January 2014

From the case files

MPS works hard to defend claims wherever possible. Part of a strong defence is having knowledgeable and skilled expert witnesses to demonstrate that the doctor in question has acted in the patient’s best interests and in line with good medical practice.

Perhaps the best defence of all is making sure your diagnosis and treatment plans are of the requisite standard; examinations (where necessary) are thorough and welldocumented; informed consent is both taken and recorded; and note-keeping is accurate and contemporaneous.

In “The twisted knee”, Ms C brought a claim against Dr A, alleging, amongst other things, that he had negligently performed an arthroscopy in the absence of an MRI scan and unreasonably diagnosed a meniscal tear. Expert opinion found no liability on the part of Dr A, concluding that his preoperative working diagnosis was eminently reasonable in light of Ms C’s symptoms and signs. As a result, the claim was subsequently discontinued and no payment was made.

Sometimes, when a case cannot be defended, MPS works on a member’s behalf to ensure a favourable settlement. For example, in “Common can be complicated”, Miss G’s family alleged she was unable to use public transport unaccompanied due to her persistent symptoms, which they argued would hinder future employment prospects. MPS’s legal team made use of video surveillance, which provided evidence that Miss G could use public transport independently; therefore reducing the final settlement offer significantly.

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