A Doctor Misdiagnosed Me By Video Examination – Can I Claim?

By Brett Williams. Last updated 11th August 2021. If you have been misdiagnosed by video examination by Doctor or GP, this guide will attempt to explain why you could be able to make a compensation claim, and also how to go about it.

In the same way that a personal injury solicitor can help you to pursue a personal injury claim, a medical negligence lawyer can help you claim for the suffering and pain a medical professional has done you due to negligence. If you need any questions answered about making such a claim, then a member of our claims team can answer them for you if you give them a call on 0800 073 8801. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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What Are Online Video Consultations?

Misdiagnosed by video examination by a GP or doctor compensation claims guide

Misdiagnosed by video examination by a GP or doctor compensation claims guide

During the COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020, new ways had to be found to handle patients that followed the UK rules on lockdown and social distancing. Many organisations, including the NHS, started to deploy online, collaborative solutions to this problem. The NHS now offers a number of GP services online, and this includes video examinations for people who need to see a GP during the lockdown period.

Many GPs can offer online services, including voice only consultations and video examinations. However, the patient will generally have to answer a series of questions online to discern the kind of online service they need.

How Do Video Examinations Work?

If you need to see a GP during the lockdown, one of the options f is a video examination. Once you have completed the initial questionnaire online, you will receive an SMS or an email from your GP telling you what the time and date of your video examination will be.

At the time of the examination, you can use your smartphone, tablet or computer to start the online examination. The SMS or email will have contained instructions for setting up your device to do this. It is advisable to set up your device prior to the examination, so you know everything is working ahead of time.

The online examination will be very similar to a face-to-face examination, with you speaking to the doctor and seeing the video of their face on your device. If you are suffering visible symptoms, the doctor may ask you to move your camera so that they can be seen, or may recommend a face to face examination instead. If a visible symptom cannot be seen clearly, this may cause a doctor to misdiagnose a symptom.

What Do I Need To Have To Talk To My Doctor By Video?

In order to be able to have an online examination made by your doctor, you will need to use a suitable device and related technology, this could be:

  • A smartphone or tablet running Google Android or Apple iOS.
  • A desktop PC or laptop running Windows 10 (although Windows Vista, 7 and 8 may also work), Apple OS X, or Linux with a suitable UI (mileage may vary).
  • A webcam either built into the device or attached via USB.
  • A microphone, either built into the device or plugged into the Mic In socket or via USB.
  • A relatively fast and stable internet connection (4G or 5G for devices using cellular data).
  • An installed and working copy of the software used to connect to your GP’s video call. Instructions for setting this up will have been included in the SMS or email you received confirming the appointment.

If you have problems connecting to the video examination on the day, you will have the option of rescheduling the session. However, the GP or the surgery will not provide technical support to help you resolve hardware/software issues that are preventing you from connecting.

Are There Limits To Video Consultations?

It should be fairly obvious that due to the constraints of an online video examination, it could increase the risk of a symptom, especially a visual symptom, being misdiagnosed by a doctor. However, there are other cons that apply to this technology, and these include:

  • The possibility of misdiagnosis.
  • No human touch.
  • Increased cost to the patient.
  • Requires compatible technology.
  • Requires a fair level of technical ability.
  • Not suitable for all patients.

As we can see, video examinations are not a solution for everyone. Not every medical condition lends itself well to being diagnosed remotely, especially those with subtle visual symptoms. Furthermore, the technical problem of connecting to the video sessions is shifted to the patient, at an increased cost. Considering that a face-to-face consultation is free and simply requires the patient to turn up, video consultation has a much higher cost in effort.

What Is Misdiagnosis By A Doctor Or GP?

A negligent GP can cause serious repercussions for a patient. Your GP acts as your first port of call when you are feeling ill. They are tasked with diagnosing your medical condition and deciding whether you should be referred on to a specialised healthcare unit within the NHS. Therefore, a negligent doctor decision could see the patient going without critical treatment. This could cause serious healthcare issues and potentially threaten the life of the patient.

Every GP has a responsibility to never do harm to one of the patients that they are treating. A breach of this duty of care that results in harm to the patient could be deemed clinical negligence if it could have been avoided. The victim will need to prove that the harm they have suffered would not have occurred had the doctor not been negligent, if they wish to pursue a claim. We can help with this. Call our claims team to learn more.

How Doctors Should Carry Out Examinations Or Consultations By Video

When it comes to suing a doctor for misdiagnosis that occurred during a video examination, it’s up to the claimant to establish that negligence occurred. Therefore, every doctor must make sure that they follow proper protocols for making an examination by video. Recommendations to a GP could include:

  • Know when a video examination is appropriate and when it is not.
  • Take time to plan ahead for each online video session.
  • Set up the location for your video session. Make sure the environment is quiet, properly lit and that it is private.
  • Ensure that the technology stack for hosting video examinations is working prior to an appointment.
  • Start with an introduction of who you are, and what the session aims to achieve.
  • Give signposts to the patient, telling them what you are doing throughout the session.
  • Ensure that the patient understands what you have told them.
  • Close the session professionally, with a proper sign off that recaps any recommendations or instructions that you have given the patient.

If a GP fails to manage an online session professionally, and this leads to a patient being harmed through medical negligence, then we may be able to help.

Why Doctors Carrying Out Examinations By Video May Misdiagnose A Patient

There are a number of factors that could lead to a doctor misdiagnosis when a video examination is used. These could include, for example:

  • With no physical examination, symptoms may be missed.
  • Inability to read patient body language may lead to missed indicators.
  • A tendency to dispense antibiotics.
  • Fragmentation of clinical documentation could lead to mistakes.
  • Physical, visible symptoms may be overlooked.

We could be able to help you to claim if your GP has acted erroneously and ultimately, that error caused you harm. Call us today to learn how.

Types Of Negligence Which Could Happen During Video Examinations

There are three ways that a patient can come to harm if they are misdiagnosed by a GP, and these are:

  • Incorrect diagnosis – with the victim not receiving the right treatment.
  • Failure to diagnose – with the victim not receiving any treatment.
  • Late diagnosis – with the victim receiving critical treatment very late.

In each example, the patient’s medical condition could worsen, resulting in death in the most extreme cases. To learn how we can help if you have been misdiagnosed, call our advisors today.

Additional Concerns Related To Video Consultations

There exists a danger that the patient/doctor relationship becomes dehumanised when video examinations become the main way for a GP and their patients to communicate.

In some cases, such as when dealing with patients who are suffering a mental health problem such as depression, it could mean that misdiagnosed depression is missed, as the GP may have a reduced level of physical empathy towards the patient.

Could I Claim Against A NHS GP For Misdiagnosis By Video Examination?

The NHS has to follow a whole host of different regulations related to the quality of care that patients are provided. When these regulations are not followed, and a doctor harms a patient through negligence, then the victim could be able to make a compensation claim. The first step is to make an official complaint to the NHS. For some advice on how to do this, please contact our advisors.

Could I Claim Against A Private Doctor For Misdiagnosis By Video Examination?

If you come to harm due to clinical negligence at the hands of a private doctor, you can still make a misdiagnosis claim. In this case, it would be the operator of the healthcare facility where the doctor works that you would make a claim against. This is also something that we can assist you with. Our advisors can advise you more if you give them a call.

Assessing Compensation For A GP’s Misdiagnosis By Video Consultation – Updated August 2021

You might be able to track down some kind of medical negligence compensation calculator, similar in function to a personal injury claims tool or calculator, that will estimate your claim value for you. You can also check out the example table below that shows the range of compensation different severities of illnesses might attract. It has been produced using the guidelines of the Judicial College, a legal body that reviews compensation awards made by the courts. 

Health Issue How Bad? Compensation Notes
Illness Minor £860 to £3,710 This category would cover an illness with minor symptoms, for which the patient would generally use over the counter medication to treat, and that would last for just a few days, with lingering symptoms that may last several weeks.
Illness Moderate £3,710 to £8,950 This category would cover an illness with moderate symptoms, that could require prescription medication to treat, with recuperation happening at home. Some symptoms could be quite painful, but in general, they should clear up within a few weeks, with lingering symptoms up to two years.
Illness Serious £8,950 to £18,020 This category would cover an illness with serious symptoms, that would be quite painful in some cases. The patient would likely be hospitalised for treatment initially, and then sent home to recover once their condition is stable. The main symptoms would subside within 4 weeks, but lingering symptoms could be permanent.
Illness Severe £36,060 to £49,270 This category would cover an illness with severe, even lethal symptoms. The patient would likely receive emergency hospital treatment, and stay in the hospital for the majority of the time they are in recovery. The victim could have lingering symptoms that may have a substantial impact on their life in the future.

If you wish to get a much more precise valuation, a solicitor will need to value it for you. Give our claims team a call to start this process.

What Other Forms Of Compensation Could You Claim?

If you make a clinical negligence claim due to an injury, illness or other medical condition that resulted from a poorly carried out video examination, if you win your claim you will likely receive a number of different types of damages. General damages are a class of damages that relate to some kind of physical harm that the claimant has suffered. The amount of damages awarded will depend on how much trauma, suffering and pain the claimant was subjected to, the kind of treatment they received, and any long-lasting symptoms or impairment. General damages might include:

  • General suffering and pain caused by the symptoms of an illness or injury.
  • Psychological trauma resulting in conditions such as depression or anxiety.
  • The pain and trauma caused by being subjected to invasive or traumatic treatment.
  • Deterioration in the quality of life caused by a long-term impairment or permanent impairment.

The purpose of special damages is to compensate the victim for non-physical and financial losses. In many cases, the claimant will wish to claim back costs already spent. If they do, they will need to support their claim by providing documentary proof of this spending. Special damages might include compensation for:

  • The likes of travel tickets to and from medical appointments and the like.
  • The cost of hiring in a home helper or a nurse.
  • The cost of paying for treatment through private hospitals.
  • To make up for lost earnings (wages/salary) due to missing work and not being paid either in full or partially.
  • For reduced earning potential in the future due to an impairment impacting the working potential of the claimant.

If you would like to learn what types of damages might be appropriate to try and claim for based on your personal situation, call our team. One of our advisors will evaluate your claim for you and let you know.

No Win No Fee Claims If Misdiagnosed By Video Examination By A GP Or Doctor

Using the services of a lawyer that offers a No Win No Fee arrangement has two primary benefits. Firstly, you are going to gain the legal help you need to take your claim through to a successful conclusion. Secondly, because you don’t pay the lawyer until the claim has been won, you are minimising a lot of the financial risks associated with making a claim.

A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is a kind of No Win No Fee contract to provide legal services. It gives benefits such as the claimant not needing to pay an upfront fee, or ongoing fees as the claim is processed. If the claim is lost, the claimant will also not need to pay their solicitor any fees.

If the claim is won, the lawyer will ask that the claimant pays a small success fee, that is legally capped. This can be deducted out of any compensation payment the lawyer has received on behalf of the claimant.

How Our Advisors Could Help You Claim Compensation

We can provide you with an experienced clinical negligence solicitor from our panel. With over 30-years of experience with such claims, we are sure that we can be of help to you. We will always use plain English without legal jargon to answer your questions and do all we can to ensure you receive the most compensation possible.

Begin A Claim Against A Doctor Or GP

Has a misdiagnosis harmed you after having an online video examination with your GP? If so, please call our advisors on 0800 073 8801. When you contact us, an advisor will tell you how we can help with your claim.

Where To Learn More

These additional guides could be useful:

These external pages have useful information:

NHS Negligence Advice

The Law And Medical Malpractice

Clinical Negligence And Mental Health

Hopefully, you now understand how to claim if you were misdiagnosed by video examination. Please call today if you have any further enquiries.

Guide by MW

Edited by REB