Case studies

Breast abscess or cancer: a matter of judgement

1 December 2006

A youngish woman, with a history of successfully treated axillary abscesses and no family history of breast cancer, presented to her GP with a tender breast lump and was treated with antibiotics. When later she was referred to a busy breast clinic she was found to have extensive carcinoma.

Delayed cauda equina diagnosis when symptoms aren't apparent

1 December 2006

While lower back pain can have a variety of causes, cauda equina syndrome has very specific symptoms which we featured in our Journal article in July 2004.

A contraindicated headache prescription

26 April 2006

When treatments for the alleviation of everyday symptoms are inappropriately prescribed, they can have significant implications for a patient's existing condition.

Delayed diagnosis of rectal cancer

26 April 2006

When a patient attends frequently, even with an apparently benign symptom, is it time to consider further investigations?

No alert to patient penicillin allergy

26 April 2006

Inadvertently prescribing a drug that triggers an allergic reaction can have serious - sometimes fatal consequences. GP records need to carry clear and visible warnings.

Communication error

4 October 2005

An SHO was coming to the end of his first week in Accident and Emergency. It was 7 pm on Friday and he should have gone home over an hour ago but the department was busy and his Registrar asked him if he could see one last patient.

Working beyond competency

4 October 2005

A paediatrics SHO was six weeks into the job. She had received three days of induction training at the start of the post. It was departmental policy that new SHOs were accompanied to deliveries by a registrar for their first month in post.

Incomplete notes on femur fracture

1 October 2005

Thorough examination and recording of findings is a vital part of good clinical practice, and can assist in the defence of claims at a later date.

Anatomy of a claim
A rarity within a rarity – when presenting symptoms don't quite add up

31 August 2004

In cases where there has been a delayed diagnosis, or where a diagnosis is made only after an unfortunate outcome, the successful defence of a claim often depends on whether the practitioners involved have investigated the presenting symptoms to an appropriate degree.

Undetected pulmonary embolism in a mildly asthmatic patient

31 August 2004

This is a problem that is often difficult to diagnose and has given rise to a number of general practice claims.