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GP was not negligent in dealing with patient who developed breast cancer

By: Ciaran Joyce BL

High Court dismisses plaintiff's medical negligence claim, where it was alleged that the plaintiff sought to have a lump in her armpit examined by a general practitioner (GP) who failed to do a breast examination and the plaintiff developed breast cancer, finding that: a) in respect of the correct tumour doubling time, the evidence suggested the size of the tumour was below the threshold size for it to have been discoverable on clinical examination by means of palpation by a GP at that time; b) there was a failure to put the allegation to the defendant that she had deliberately written an untruth in her notes; c) the defendant was not negligent in failing to make a second or more vigorous request to examine the plaintiff’s breasts at the consultation; d) even if a breast examination had been done, it was not have resulted in a tumour being found on the basis of the correct tumour doubling time; and e) the defendant’s actions were not in breach of the National Breast Cancer GP Referral Guidelines.

Medical negligence – plaintiff sought to have a lump in her armpit examined by a GP who failed to do a breast examination and the plaintiff developed breast cancer – whether the defendant acted negligently and in breach of the National Breast Cancer GP Referral Guidelines – correct tumour doubling time – tumour in the plaintiff’s breast in 2014, was likely to have been approximately 0.6cm in size based on a tumour doubling time of 80 days and below the threshold size for it to have been discoverable on clinical examination by means of palpation by a GP at that time – whether the defendant offered the plaintiff a breast examination and whether the plaintiff refused it – duty to put matters to witnesses in cross-examination – failure to put the allegation to the defendant that she had deliberately written an untruth in her notes – defendant was not negligent in failing to make a second or more vigorous request to examine the plaintiff’s breasts at the consultation – plaintiff's cased dismissed.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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