Negligent General Practitioner
GP Gynaecology Claim Solicitors
A General Practitioners (GP) is a doctor who diagnoses and treats illness within the community, promotes better health, prevents disease, certifys disease, monitors chronic disease, and refers patients requiring specialist services. Whilst GPs can exercise autonomy in decisions that affect the clinical care of patients, they must ensure that due care is taken and that their decisions are made with the best available evidence. GPs are not perfect and mistakes will often be made. Most medical mistakes do not constitute grounds for law suits however, when a serious medical mishap occurs as a result of incompetence or negligence, the patient may be able to instruct a solicitor to sue for medical negligence compensation. A GP is often the first port of call for a patient with gynaecological problems and errors made at an early stage can have lifelong and life threatening outcomes.
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Medical Negligence Solicitor
A medical negligence solicitor is a specialist lawyer who can advise on whether a patient has a strong enough case to sue for compensation. If you would like advice at no cost on GP negligence compensation, contact our solicitors today by calling our helpline. Alternatively, complete the online contact form or email our layers offices.
Our gynaecology negligence information service provides legal advice, Australia-wide, for patients and their families. Our service is completely free to use.
We can provide advice on whether you should investigate your claim and pursue compensation; lodge a complaint with the appropriate health care complaints body in your State/Territory; time limits for making a compensation claim; and No Win No Fee representation. Contact our gynaecology solicitors to find out how we can help you.
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Proof of GP Negligence
If you are concerned about the treatment provided by a General Practitioner, particularly if you have suffered damage (physical, psychological, financial) as a result of poor care, then you may wish to seek legal advice from a gynaecology solicitor as to whether you can claim compensation. Patients who have suffered injuries and disabilities as a result of poor medical care are often left with physical and/or psychological trauma which may affect their ability to work and to perform daily tasks of living. The law generally recognises that where a breach in duty of care has caused damage of this nature, the patient may be able to claim compensation for their losses and needs created as a result of the negligence. Compensation can also be awarded to relatives of persons who have died as a result of a General Practitioner’s negligence.
The plaintiffs solicitor must first establish the appropriate medical standard of care and then prove that the practitioner departed from or failed to render care that meets that standard. In medical negligence cases, the plaintiff does not have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, the plaintiff must prove (with expert opinion) that the general practitioner was negligent and that on the balance of probabilities, the negligence was causally linked or responsible for the patient’s damages. Expert medical evidence is always required to draw the connection between the negligence of the defendant doctor and the injury.
GP Medical Negligence - General Practitioners Errors
Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose a medical condition is a common complaint of patients who have received poor care. Examples include :
- Failure to take patient complaints seriously.
- GP fails to take into consideration relevant history, examination findings and test results.
- Pathology results, imaging reports, investigation reports and clinical correspondence are overlooked or misplaced, resulting in misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis.
- There is a failure to follow up and recall patients with clinically significant tests and results.
- Misinterpretation of findings.
- Common claims include: failure to diagnose appendicitis, heart attack and stroke.
- Failure to diagnose cancer is the most common negligence claim brought against general practitioners. Specific examples include- failure to diagnose breast cancer, melanoma, bowel cancer, cervical cancer and brain tumours. With breast cancer for example, a delay in diagnosis may be due to failure of the general practitioner to pursue breast complaints, to follow breast cancer screening guidelines, to track results of mammograms and referrals, failure to refer the patient for evaluation of breast masses in the setting of negative mammogram reports, and failure to order a biopsy. The prognosis of breast cancer is related to the stage at diagnosis, the earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the patient’s prognosis will be.
Sometimes General Practitioners will provide the wrong treatment for a medical condition, particularly if the condition has been misdiagnosed to begin with. General practitioners should consider investigating further if treatment is not working. Failure to provide appropriate treatment may constitute grounds for negligence.
Medication errors are another common type of treatment error. Sometimes the incorrect medication is prescribed or a patient is given a medication which is contra-indicated. If a patient has a known allergy to a particular medication, this should be noted in the medical records.
General practitioners often perform minor procedures within their practice such as removal of skin lesions, syringing of ear wax, withdrawal of blood, and giving of injections. Most of these procedures are straight forward and adverse events are rare. However even with the most basic of procedures, a doctor should exercise due care.
Failure to refer when the general practitioner lacks the expertise to appropriately treat a patient may create malpractice liability. A doctor needs to be aware of their own limitations and refer patients on appropriately. They should also ensure that they track referrals to specialists and communicate with specialist when necessary.
Further, a general practitioner who does not give the patient information about the potential consequences associated with not seeing a specialist may also be held liable. If the patient negligently fails to follow through with referrals, they may be found liable in part for her injuries. The defendant has the burden of proving “contributory negligence” on the part of the plaintiff.