Intended for healthcare professionals


GP who failed to act on red flags for cauda equina syndrome breached duty

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 18 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1231
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

A GP breached his duty to a 35 year old out-of-hours patient in failing to note red flag warning signs for cauda equina syndrome and to refer her urgently to hospital, a High Court judge has ruled.1

Andrew Stead could not remember his consultation with Kerry Shaw in 2013 but had written “no red flags” in his notes. But Mrs Justice Yip accepted the evidence of Shaw and her husband that she did have red flag symptoms or signs that the GP should have elicited.

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare and severe narrowing of the spinal canal usually caused …

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