Wrong diagnosis how has it got THIS bad?

The Good Life Letter 

Friday 5th August  2011

  • Greedy lawyers force our GPs to take million pound risks every day leading to wrong diagnosis after wrong diagnosis
  • Discover a voice of reason
  • This is the best way to look after yourself, get a GP partner

Knowledge has always had a value, if not power.

Those with the intellect to play the financial markets make huge rewards - or get the rest of us to bail them out.

Our politicians have the skills to guide and inform their constituents for the good of all - or at least get us to pay for cleaning their moats out.

Media magnets thrive on providing unbiased, accurate and honest accounts of major events - or take a humbling pie in the face.

In the case of the above we are often slow to applaud their successes. But they seem to do that for themselves pretty well anyway.

When they do make a mistake or act unwisely we carry the can for it, so we are rightly annoyed.

On Monday though I read something that made my heart sink; claims for negligence against GP's had increased by 20% in 2010.

That's outrageous, but even more worryingly over 60% of these were for misdiagnosis.

I do not believe that the level of performance in our medics can have fallen so low in a year.

Part of the problem will be down to a nasty trend in our society.

Those who feel the need to find blame in any circumstance just to make a quick buck.

This is why our councils spend hundreds of thousands of pounds relaying idiotic advice and sticking signs everywhere to tell us to remember to breathe...and other pointless measures.

My kids are likely to have to pay £2000 to insure a £200 banger when they pass their test because of ambulance chasing lawyers.

And so it has come to be for our doctors, with the rewards spiralling out of control for claimants. Did you know that 13 of the claims last year involved payouts of over one million pounds?

A wrong diagnosis isn't in anybody's interest, and achieving the correct one is never easy, but if a busy GP at the end of a 5 hour surgery, seeing a patient every 10 minutes misses a hidden clue then he runs the risk of a million pound lawsuit being filed.

Good Life Letter - a voice of reason

Our world is now full of information, and one of the most popular concerns our health, after all that's why the Good Life Letter came into being; I like to think that I act as a voice of sanity in a sea of fools.

Back in time, like when I had pink hair, what the doctor told you was sacrosanct, and within the bounds of the knowledge available to them at the time they were invariably right.

But no-one would ever think of questioning their judgement, let alone complain if things went wrong. Being human was accepted as a factor of being a doctor.

None of them stood over a maligned victim laughing evilly, because they never wanted to be wrong.

Nowadays we expect our doctors to all be like House on the TV; brilliant at diagnosis and quick to find the cure - but reality isn't like that.

The working of the human body is complex, as any student of anatomy and physiology will tell you. If you then multiply that complexity by differences in genetic makeup and the variation in infective organisms you begin to see the dilemma.

A General Practitioner is just that, general.

None of them are specialists, so their depth of knowledge is limited, but the breadth of knowledge is huge - it has to be.

Put yourself in their shoes, every time the surgery door opens it must be like playing Russian Roulette as they have absolutely no idea what the next patient is going to tell them.

Within 10 minutes they have to assess the patient, diagnose the problem and decide on a solution - it takes me longer than that to choose a main course meal from a menu.

I am not trying to be an apologist for bad GP's, as indeed there are a few out there who really should be taken to task. However, I would like to offer my support to our beleaguered Dr Kildare's  out there who must be wondering where the next kicking is going to come from.

Partnerships in health

Here at the Good Life Letter I like to think we are balanced in our views...well mostly, (you have to forgive me the occasional rant as I am a man of that age now) and I would hope that none of you would ever feel that you needed to sue your doctor.

Having said that you should always listen with an open mind but be prepared to take decisions yourself based on what you know.

For instance, statins continue to make the news amid new health concerns and their effect on patients emotional states, however, GP's dole them out like Smarties - just say no! There are alternatives available which are effective and safer, don't be scared to ask.

Treat your GP as a partner in your health, not an enemy, but always remember that you have the right to a second opinion should you choose. Use this right whenever you are not convinced of the approach suggested, I have never met a GP who takes offence to a patient asking if they could consult another member of the practice.

In most cases they are welcoming of another view, after all they are professionals.

Let's stop the culture of blame, and begin to focus of better health for all...including our overworked doctors.


Yours as always,




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