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To consider legal action against my mum's GP

19 replies

Gobeithio · 07/11/2018 10:59

NC for this. My mother passed away last year from throat cancer. This type of cancer is easily treatable if caught early, but hers was too advanced by the time she was diagnosed. The reason it was not caught in time is that for months she kept returning to her GP who did nothing more than prescribe her bloody antibiotics. I have zero medical training but even I know that a sore throat that persists for that long is serious. She only got referred to the hospital when a different GP at the same surgery intervened. Her idiot GP killed her.

I know I could take action over this, but usually I can't even bear to think about it. Recently, though, it has occurred to me that in later years I may regret not taking any action. As well as the fatal fuck-up he made over my mother, this idiot is still being let loose on other patients. But I know that opening this can of worms might be quite traumatising for me and my sibling.


OP posts:
CluedoAddict · 07/11/2018 11:10

If you think you can face it I would. A friends Dad has just passed away from throat cancer. They were fobbed off constantly by their own GP. My friend paid for them to see her own GP privately. They picked it straight away. It was too late though sadly.

Tawdrylocalbrouhaha · 07/11/2018 11:12

I'm really sorry to hear about your mum, OP. Have you met with the GP practice to discuss your mother's treatment, and whether they accept they were at fault?

If not, that or a formal complaint would be a good first step. Either way they will give you a written response setting out their view of events, which you will be able to show a solicitor when discussing how to proceed.

There is also a free and impartial charity called AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) who can talk you through the process and your options.

tiggerkid · 07/11/2018 11:22

Take whatever action would make you feel better. A lot of GPs in this country have the attitude they have because nobody ever brings them to account. There are many stories like that. I recently caught up with a friend whose dad we saw only a year ago and his dad was absolutely fine. My friend told me he passed away in January because his GP prescribed the medication that their hospital specifically instructed not to prescribe. His dad was quite old, so he didn't notice or didn't pay attention and he passed away literally within days from taking the medication.

My friend is absolutely certain that this was the reason why his dad is no longer there. However nobody in their family has any energy to go through any legal battles. This is why these GPs keep getting away with it.

Many of them have the attitude of "go home, have a cup of tea and if it doesn't go away next week, come back and see me again". The following week they still do nothing! It's very frustrating and I am very sorry to hear about your mother.

Do whatever it takes to make you feel better and get closure! Flowers

sadkoala · 07/11/2018 11:39

Sorry for your lossFlowers
If you feel you are up to it I would do it OP.
It happens too often IMO - my DF would be in a wheelchair today if he had not decided to get a private opinion (he was about 2-3 months away from it and ended up having surgery within days of seeing private doctor) NHS and GP just kept prescribing stronger painkillers and crappy excersize printed off Google.

There's is a high chance my neighbour would now be dead. She was prescribed medication to take at home which should only be prescribed pre surgery and only taken under direct supervison of healthcare professionals. She was not having surgery or in hospital and she kept feeling worse and started getting open sores on her body
She read up about the meication and brought this up with GP and was brushed off. Went back to her home country and went to see a specialist who told her she was killing herself. She had 3 DC's under 5 who could have all ended up without a mum if she didn't question it.

I'm aware that the NHS is underfunded but it is also mismanaged and too many mistakes are being made at a cost to people's health and sometimes even lives. It's very sad.

Darkstar4855 · 07/11/2018 11:47

I think I would make a formal complaint first and see what the surgery has to say. If you still want to take things further after that you will then have all the information to take to a solicitor for advice on how to proceed.

cinders15 · 07/11/2018 12:08

Make a formal complaint in writing to the PALS team at your CCG
I would do this in an email to keep a paper trail
I did this about my GP - I had four complaints - and PALS upheld all four and helped my family change GP
The main complaint was they changed my heart medication to 4 times what it should have been - 32 instead of 8 - thank god I noticed before I took it

ImNotKitten · 07/11/2018 12:12

So sorry to hear about your DM Flowers

If you feel able to, I agree a complaint would be appropriate. I don’t expect they will necessarily admit fault in the first instance, so just be prepared for that so it doesn’t give you a nasty shock.

Babyblade · 07/11/2018 12:21

Reading with interest.

My MIL died 2 weeks ago from a pulmonary embolism caused by DVT in both legs - one GP had suggested clots as a possible diagnosis but then treated with antibiotics in case it was an infection Angry, the 2nd GP ignored the possibility of clots and decided it was simply water retention.

Less than 24hrs later and MIL was dead Sad

We're currently waiting for the coroner to investigate.

cinders15 · 07/11/2018 12:23

PALS are the correct ones to investigate a complaint against a GP
I wouldn't go to the GP first - it needs an objective investigation by a third party

Gobeithio · 07/11/2018 15:11

Thank you all. I really appreciate your supportive and helpful messages. For some reason I thought I might get savaged for considering legal action against a GP.

I have looked up done information about how to go about this and it looks like the first thing would be to request access to her medical records (which I have the right sort of legal status to request). I'm going to discuss it with my sibling first ... and then also have a think about whether I have the mental energy to pursue this on top of everything else (i.e. being a single mum with a full time demanding job).


OP posts:
Mia1415 · 07/11/2018 15:23

I'm very sorry about your loss.

I'd suggest putting in a formal complaint to the surgery as a first step.

I've just done this as my Mum nearly died due to a GP mistake (negligence). The Head of the Practice thoroughly investigated and has written a lengthy response to my concerns. I actually feel quite reassured by it.

Good luck.

CuriousaboutSamphire · 07/11/2018 15:25

Do contact you local PALS. They will be really helpful.

livingontheedgeee · 07/11/2018 15:27

So sorry for your loss Flowers

Leave it a while until some of the emotion has left the situation. Then if you still want to pursue it then go ahead.

My DF died through negligence of his GP and I was adamant I would take it further while I was in the throes of my grief.

In the end, I decided a law suit wouldn't bring him back. The GP knows what she did and she has to live with that.

dottycat123 · 07/11/2018 15:42

Last year my dh was treated for throat cancer, he had been dismissed by GP but we pursued diagnosis ( I am a nurse and wasn't happy with GP assessment). We met with practice manager and GP to discuss missed diagnosis, GP was a total arrogant knob, refused to say ' Sorry, I missed it'. All we wanted then was an apology. I reported GP to GMC, they investigated and GP was basically ' slapped on wrist'.
My dh had chemo and radiotherapy, he was peg fed for a few months but survived.
You have a much stronger case than we did but systems make it difficult to complain about a GP. We had months of communication before we met up with GMC. It is very rare for a GP to be actually struck off , retraining is usual outcome.

cjt110 · 07/11/2018 15:51

When I was a child I had several brain surgeries. On one occasion, a consultant who had operated on me in 2 or 3 times in the short space of as many weeks commented to my Mum that he wanted to nurse me flat and put an anti syphonage device in to assist. My Mum challenged him and he said "I will get back to you" and walked of the ward - I realise this may all be jargon/stories to you but bare with me....

I was 9 at the time and had had one in since I was 4. He had removed it in his first operation and failed to put another in in his subsequent two operations - and in doing so, caused the second operation by not re-installing at the first and so forth. The subsequent two may not have happened had he have put back in what he took out in the first place.

My mum sought legal action - not for recompense but to stop another child going through the same as I had for no reason other than malpractice.

Horrifically, he was not registered under the GMC - he was a European doctor and did not need to be - and all my medical notes surrounding those three surgeries - including legal documentation for morphine and anesthetic - mysteriously disappeared.

The ramifications for someone's life could be huge.

If it means practice changes, then so be it. Do not let them silence you.

jimmyhill · 07/11/2018 15:55

You can't sue. You sue to recover a loss and sadly in this case your loss can't be recovered or compensated.

But you can complain to GMC if you suspect malpractice.

jarhead123 · 07/11/2018 15:57


Not as serious, but recently I hurt my ankle and had it x-rayed - no issue showing. Went back several weeks later as it was still agony and the dr told me I needed physio?! Sounded crazy as I couldn't weight bear. Eventually I went back to another dr, had a further X-ray and would you believe it, I've a broken bone in my foot.

I'm usually in support of Dr's but I guess they can all make mistakes. if you can face bringing it up again I would.

Princessmushroom · 07/11/2018 15:59

Please at least complain. It doesn’t have to be legal action. You only have a year to complain. We didn’t and I wish we had

purpleweasel · 07/11/2018 16:09

A young family member of ours was fobbed off by the GP for weeks before collapsing & being blue-lighted into A&E. Unfortunately by then it was too late. His close family did complain and it was investigated, I think there was a formal apology from the organisation (rather than from any individual). It was painful but there was some comfort in thinking another family might be spared this sort of trauma

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