Case studies

A fatal complication of chickenpox

22 December 2010

A four-year-old was 'grumpy and irritable' after returning home from nursery. He then developed spots and his mother suspected chickenpox.

Headaches not an indicator of acromegaly

22 December 2010

An otherwise healthy woman in her early 30’s saw her GP shortly after registering at the practice. She complained of headaches occurring once or twice a week for about a year. The headaches whereon the left side, and the patient told the GP that she felt these were work-stress related.

Mystery abdominal pain

22 December 2010

A man in his 30’s attended his GP complaining of pain in the lower abdomen which had begun that morning. There was no associated nausea or vomiting.

Telescoping symptoms

22 December 2010

A businessman visited his doctor in December 1996 complaining of lumbar back pain, thought to be right-sided sciatica, from which he had suffered for 20 years.

Must doctors comply with guidelines?

21 December 2010

A patient was admitted to the orthopaedic ward for a total knee replacement. The anaesthetist, a member of the MDU, assessed him pre-operatively and discussed the use of prophylaxis with low-molecular-weight heparin post-operatively to reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism.

Seeing double

21 December 2010

A patient who suffered enophthalmos and diplopia following an assault claimed her GP had not referred her to hospital in time for corrective surgery. She was, she alleged, left with permanent damage which prevented her from working.

Perforation of the uterus

20 December 2010

A patient in her mid-30s was referred by her GP for termination of pregnancy under general anaesthetic. The uterus was 12 weeks size at the time of termination.

A dying wish

17 December 2010

A GP member contacted the MDU advice line following a complaint from the family of a deceased patient whose long-standing wish had been to donate her body to medical science. 

Ruptured Achilles tendon

17 December 2010

A 36-year old male patient attended his GP, a member of the MDU, complaining of an injury to his right ankle.