Misdiagnosis of pneumonia

A father was outraged to be told by hospital doctors that his baby girl had pneumonia, when all the while the GP was treating her for a simple sore throat. The father had taken his daughter to hospital a day after seeing the GP (who prescribed antibiotics) as she was not progressing as quickly as he thought she should.

An X-ray in hospital showed a shadow on the lung which the junior hospital doctors diagnosed as pneumonia. They started the baby on intravenous antibiotics.

However a day or two later the radiologist's report stated that the lung shadow was the thymus and there was no evidence of pneumonia. The father persisted with his complaint through the FHSA on the grounds that the baby failed to respond to the GP's antibiotics – after only a day.

There was an exchange of letters and the chairman of the medical service committee decided a hearing was necessary. The date and time was set. In their guidance to the complainant the FHSA suggested that he consult his CHC.

The father duly did this and the CHC advised the father to withdraw his complaint. The GP received official notice of withdrawal of the complaint on the day of the intended hearing.

This page was correct at publication on 23/04/2002. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.