Wolferstans’ Medical Negligence Department regularly advise individuals whose medical problems have not been diagnosed by their doctors, leading to worse outcomes as a result of not attending medical appointments.
Those worse outcomes range from minor and moderate, non-debilitating injuries to devastating and life threatening conditions. At the minor to moderate end of that spectrum, it is sometimes impractical for a busy medical practice to check up on each and every individual who fails to attend appointments, even if results of medical investigations were due to be discussed. In those circumstances, what may have been a condition that could have been treated successfully, can become one that escalates and results in a longer, more invasive or less effective course of treatment.
For example, a recent case involved a PE instructor who became concerned about the mild, but persistent, pain he was experiencing in his knee. He attended his GP who arranged for an MRI scan, the results of which were to be available within a couple of weeks. An appointment was made to discuss the results of the scan (although that was in dispute) but, instead, the PE instructor called the practice and he was informed by a member of staff that no further action was necessary, or words to that effect. The PE instructor took that information at face value and did not attend the subsequent appointment with his GP, at which he would have learned that the scan revealed a tear to the soft tissue structures of the knee which could have been treated surgically. Over the following year, the knee pain persisted and he returned to his GP who confirmed what the MRI scan a year earlier showed. He was then referred for multiple surgical treatment which was less effective than it would have been if he had attended his appointment a year earlier with the result that he was unable to continue with his PE instructor career.
Whether or not medical negligence was involved in the missed opportunity for the GP to communicate the correct MRI scan results in some other way, following the missed appointment, was the subject of litigation which was resolved successfully by Wolferstans. Although the PE instructor was satisfied with the result of his litigation, a far better result for him would have been avoidance of the worse injury by not having missed the appointment in question. More likely than not, he would have been treated less invasively, less often, more successfully and with less of a threat to his career.
Unfortunately, there are more disturbing, more serious examples of the results of failing to attend medical appointments, which may or may not involve clinical negligence and give rise to a claim.
If you or a member of your family have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence and you would like to receive some free initial legal advice, without obligation, please contact Ann Ball on 01752 292374 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org