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Update: clinical negligence

Meningitis, risk of cerebral palsy, breast cancer, obstetrics - Dr Jock Mackenzie reports on another quarter in court for doctors defending clinical negligence claims

8 November 2010

In Rachael Knott v Dr Alan Leading [2010] EWHC 1827 (QB), Nicola Davies J had to consider whether a defendant general practitioner (GP) had negligently failed to identify three petechial spots on the claimant’s neck, failed to consider the possibility of meningococcal disease and failed to refer the claimant to hospital for admission.

The claimant’s meningococcal disease resulted in her suffering with deafness, tinnitus and vestibular dysfunction. They had been assessed at home by the defendant and three tiny red or purple spots on her neck, like pin-pricks, were pointed out to him by the claimant’s mother: these apparently would not disappear with pressure. The defendant’s evidence was, however, that only one spot was present and it blanched on pressure.

He concluded that the claimant had a viral infection and reassured the claimant’s mother it was not meningitis. A second GP visited the claimant the next day, noted a rash on her hands, which also d...

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