No Comebacks for Doctors Reporting Abuse?
Who are BL Claims Solicitors
BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.
We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset
These may be comforting words, but the wider law is less forgiving of a doctorâ€™s mistakes.
The consequences of misdiagnosis can be very serious indeed. When issuing their new Guidance, the GMC clearly had in mind the death of Baby Peter Connelly in 2007, who suffered 50 injuries at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, despite receiving 60 visits from doctors, social workers and the police. In 2010, his GP, Jerome Ikwueke was suspended from the medical register for a year.
In the case of AD and OH v United Kingdom  ECHR 340 a mother had her child taken away from her, after the child was misdiagnosed with signs of abuse. Fractures that showed up on X rays were in fact caused by a rare condition known as osteogenesis imperfect, otherwise known as brittle bone disease. Both mother and child took their case to the European Court of Human Rights and were awarded Euro 15,000 jointly for breach of their human rights. However the court commented that there had been â€œrelevant and sufficient reasonsâ€ for the authorities to take protective measures. It had been subsequent failings that had infringed the Applicantsâ€™ human rights.
Another disturbing case was that of Webster v Norfolk County Council  EWCA Civ 59 where the Court of Appeal refused to hand back three children taken away from their parents and adopted, after it turned out the bone fractures discovered in one of them, had been caused by iron deficiency. Despite the misdiagnosis, Wall LJ felt that it would be wrong to criticise any of the social workers or the doctors who advised the family court judge in the care proceedings. However it was simply too late to return the children to their parents.
The GMC is not trying to give doctors any kind of blanket immunity from disciplinary proceedings, but rather clarifying what it is that they are expected to do in these appalling situations. Sadly these questions have to be asked of doctors all too frequently, and sometimes the answers have tragic consequences.
Associate - Personal Injury team
* Malcolm Johnson specialises in child abuse compensation claims. For further information on any of the above issues, please contact Malcolm on 02078145441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please fill in our Contact form and we will call you back.
BL Claims Solicitors are here to help
If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at email@example.com