A patient visited his GP with a complaint of rectal bleeding that he had been intermittently experiencing since a year. Unable to detect any abnormality with an examination followed by proctoscopy, the GP asked the patients the standard questions such as if there was any change in the bowel habit. The answer being negative, the GP didn’t care to record this, as it was his practice to only note positive findings.
There being no obvious cause for the bleeding and as the patient had no apparent need for urgent referral, the GP referred the patient for surgical review and the patient was attended to after a few weeks.
Claim from Patient
The patient was subsequently diagnosed with colorectal carcinoma. A claim was raised against his GP for failure of referring him urgently that led to a delay of 4 weeks for diagnosing.
Contacting Rapid Care for support and advice in this case, the GP provided the claim letter which alleged that had the GP referred the patient urgently, the size of the tumor would have been smaller when diagnosed. Moreover, the weeks of suffering, anxiety, and pain would have been avoided. Although the claim was of low value, we sought the opinion of an independent expert practitioner’s opinion that supported the GP’s way of managing the case.
Rapid Care responded to the claim robustly, denying any breach of duty while emphasizing that the symptoms of intermittent rectal bleeding were not related to any changed bowel habit. With examination and proctoscopy being normal, and hemoglobin too proving to be normal, there was no need for urgency as such.
Liability was denied, followed by the patient discontinuing the claim against the GP, who is a client of Rapid Care.