Brussels GP convicted for medical error

4th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The doctor, whose misdiagnosis led to the patient’s death, gets one year in prison and has to pay EUR 55,000 as compensation to the patient’s relatives.

4 April 2008

BRUSSELS - A Brussels general practitioner (GP) has been sentenced to one year in prison for committing a medical error. The defendant also has to pay EUR 55,000 in damages to his victim's relatives.

A 22-year old female patient, who suffered from respiratory problems and had gained a lot of weight over a short period of time, paid her GP several visits in May 2004.

During the last visit, the woman specifically asked to be admitted to hospital. But the doctor refused and said it was unnecessary. The following day, the woman died in hospital from an inflamed cardiac muscle.

The judge said that whereas it was feasible that the GP hadn’t noticed the oedema, he should have heard the rattling it caused in the woman’s lungs.

The GP’s claim that he had investigated his patient’s breathing was denied by her mother.

The court ruled that the patient’s symptoms were sufficiently alarming for the doctor to have recommended a hospital admission.

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