Case study: GPs fail to refer mother to skin specialist causing delay in diagnosis-
Three GPs failed to refer Erica to a skin specialist when she developed painful and unsightly abscesses all over her body, leading to a four-and-a-half year delay in diagnosing a treatable skin condition. Erica lost out financially due to the time she has to take off work and missed activities with her children, including family holidays. She went on to develop clinical depression and has permanent scarring. After Erica’s case was taken on by the medical negligence specialists at Hospital Negligence she was awarded £25,000 in compensation.
Sent home from GP
Erica first went to see a GP about her skin problem when she developed a large abscess on her right buttock. Erica was prescribed a form of penicillin to treat the infection and a blood glucose test was ordered to rule out diabetes, which can cause skin abscesses.
A couple of months later Erica developed further large abscess on her abdomen and upper arm and went back to see the same GP, who prescribed further penicillin. Erica was concerned as she was due to go on holiday and attended an emergency appointment three days later when the abscesses continued to be inflamed and infected. The abscesses were dressed and Erica was prescribed antibiotics and sent away.
Spread of abscesses
Erica went on to develop abscesses all over her body which caused scarring, pain and a negative impact on her life. She re-attended the same GP and also two others over the course of four years and none thought to investigate the issue further with a referral to a dermatologist and continued to prescribe antibiotics.
Erica became so frustrated and depressed by the abscesses that she asked for a dermatology referral however her request was not acted on. Eventually, one of the GPs made the referral which led to an accurate diagnosis of a type of skin infection which spreads easily and causes painful abscesses. The doctor prescribed the right medication for the condition and four months later Erica’s abscesses had completely disappeared although she was left with significant scarring due to the four-and-a-half year delay in diagnosis.
Erica’s case was taken by the medical negligence specialists at Hospital Negligence who investigated and found that it was unacceptable for the three GPs not to have investigated the abscesses more thoroughly and made a prompt referral to a dermatologist. Nothing could make up for the suffering Erica endured due to the errors however a compensation settlement of £25,000 was secured for her and her family to help them to move on from the ordeal.
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