We have seen so many people post about receiving results inappropriately - not at all, missed, with the "normal" comment, or whatever. This is from The Medical Protection Society Limited - a possibly interesting source?
Avoiding a 'near hit'
Clinical Risk Programme Manager Julie Price shares simple tips for handling test results
Dr Murphy, I came to see you two months ago and am still feeling unwell. I saw the nurse for the blood tests you ordered and phoned for the results a few days later as requested; the receptionist told me they were all normal so I don’t understand why I feel so tired?”
Dr Murphy reviewed Miss Y’s computer record, accessing the results of her blood test. Most of the results were normal but there was one showing abnormalities – the thyroid function test (TFT). Dr Murphy knew immediately what had happened. He had brought up the issue of relying on the patient to telephone the practice for their results many times. Miss Y had telephoned after a few days, but the TFT results took longer to be returned.
Dr Murphy explained the oversight to Miss Y, offering an apology. He diagnosed primary hypothyroidism and prescribed thyroid replacement therapy. “Phew,” he thought. “No harm done then, but a near miss, or perhaps more accurately a near hit.” Dr Murphy discussed this error with the other GPs over coffee later that morning. He knew the practice test result system was flawed.
Of course, the "no harm" might be in the eyes of the doctor. Two months of possibly significant hypothyroidism isn't something to be dismissed to airily, I think. Could be enough for someone to lose their job, crash their car, and go through all sorts of psychological issues.