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Andrew Hockton successfully defends trainee GP following patient’s death

2nd December 2021

Patient A died hours after seeing a trainee GP [Dr A]  in consultation at the GP surgery, with symptoms attributed to a chest infection. Following news of Patient A’s death,  Dr A amended the electronic record of the consultation, by making a number of additions to it. It was Dr A’s account that the additions to the records, which could be clearly tracked on the electronic record, were carried out in order to make them fuller and more accurate. Following complaint by a family member of the deceased, a contested hearing took place before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal. The key issues before the tribunal were whether or not Dr A’s care fell seriously below the expected standard and whether or not her amendments to the records were made dishonestly. Expert GP evidence was adduced by the GMC and on behalf of Dr A.  Further expert evidence was adduced from a respiratory expert who confirmed that the deceased died from a rare and fulminant viral pneumonitis [as classically seen with fulminant influenza cases in the flu pandemic 100 years ago and, subsequently to this case, in some recent COVID cases] where deterioration and death occurred very rapidly. The contested facts were found not proved and the tribunal determined that the admitted facts did not amount to misconduct. There was therefore no issue of impairment of Dr A’s fitness to practise. The tribunal also determined that there was no basis for a warning.

Andrew Hockton represented Dr A and was instructed by Adam Lotter of MDDUS.

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