Posted by Sophie Angwin-Thornes, Associate
£150,000 negligence claim highlights the value of GP medication reviews
A medication review is the periodic, usually annual review of the patient with their GP at which the continuing need for the repeat prescription medication is considered. These reviews play an important role in ensuring a patient is on the right medication and doesn’t remain on medication unnecessarily.
Sophie Angwin-Thornes, Associate, recently secured £150,000 for her client who suffered a life-changing injury as a result of negligent GP care and a failure to review her long term medication.
Our client was diagnosed with osteoporosis after suffering from fractures and having a bone density scan (DEXA) scan. The hospital assessing her asked her GP to prescribe her with bisphosphonate treatment (a very common medication for osteoporosis). The hospital also recommended that a repeat bone density scan was arrange in five years’ time and for it to be considered at that stage whether the medication could be stopped.
Negligently, the client’s GP’s did not refer her back for a repeat scan and did not consider at any point the length of time she had been on bisphosphonate treatment. The specialist hospital had published treatment guidelines for GP’s in the management of this medication and to consider a ‘drug holiday’, where a break in treatment for a significant time is warranted. No such consideration took place and our client was left on bisphosphonate treatment for 12 years.
A recognised complication of being on this treatment is atypical fractures and sadly this occurred in our client’s case. Our client suffered an atypical left femur fracture, which occurred with no trauma and an incomplete hip fracture on the right, requiring surgery.
The GP’s denied liability initially and argued that the onus was on our client to notify the GP when she needed a repeat DEXA scan. They attempted to shift responsibility on the client and did not accept that the practice’s policy on ensuring referral for repeat investigations safeguarded their patients. Shockingly, the need for referral was also consistently missed at the annual medication reviews.
The Defendant GP’s also argued that even if our client has been referred back to the hospital for a scan, a ‘drug holiday’ would not have avoided the fractures that occurred. Our expert rheumatologist disagreed and the Defendant eventually made an offer of settlement to the client.
The fractures left our client with long term mobility problems and unable to carry out her normal day to day activities. An award of £150,000 was secured to ensure the client is able to get her house adapted to make it accessible, along with funds for care.
It clear to see why annual medication reviews, carried out properly are so important to ensure patients are on the right treatment. In our client’s case, if they had been carried out properly, she would have avoided a life changing injury.
If you have experienced GP negligence, and would like to explore your options for making a claim for compensation, please contact us today.
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