Pandemic health warning for swine flu - concern over serious conditions being misdiagnosed as swine flu
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Home > Personal Injury > Medical Negligence > Concern over misdiagnosed swine flu

Concern over misdiagnosed swine flu

Pandemic health warning issued for swine flu

Thought to have originated in Mexico, swine flu is a type of influenza and has spread throughout the world’s population since first identified in April 2009.

The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) were so concerned that they declared the first pandemic health warning (issued to alert people to the spread of any highly infectious disease or virus) since 1968.

The spread of infection only reaches pandemic levels when the disease infects significant numbers of people, and has spread over a number of countries. The issue of a pandemic health warning allows the health authorities in all countries to activate strategic pandemic management programmes.

The vast majority of the UK population who have been in contact with the swine flu virus have fought it and survived.

UK implement strategic pandemic management programme

As part of the UK’s pandemic management programme, many GPs have advised people not to visit their surgery, as they run the risk of either passing on the virus to others at the surgery, or contracting swine flu themselves from others who already have the virus.

To help GPs and medical professionals deal with the scale of the outbreak, and to offer an alternative to large numbers of people who believed they may have contracted the virus but did not want to visit their Doctor’s surgery, the NHS Direct set up call centres around the country.

Over the telephone, people concerned that they had the virus, could obtain a remote diagnosis of swine flu, and where necessary, be prescribed Tamiflu, the drug administered to treat swine flu.

Concerns over misdiagnosed swine flu

Concern is now being expressed however, that some of the callers are being misdiagnosed as suffering from swine flu, when they are actually suffering from a different, more serious illness.

Health professionals have raised concerns that the telephone consulting process is causing a number of serious mistakes, in some cases proving fatal for the patient because of the delay in diagnosing and treating their true condition.

Patients and families contact us for medical negligence advice

Clear Answers have been contacted by several patients and their families seeking medical negligence compensation claim advice, following their misdiagnosis of swine flu. Tragically, in some of these cases the consequences of this medical negligence proved fatal. Here are just a couple of examples of clients seeking our advice.

First client

This client sadly died following his misdiagnosis of swine flu. He was in fact suffering with myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) but had been diagnosed with swine flu over the telephone. He had presented symptoms of a high temperature, shortness of breath, tiredness and chest pains. Contacting his GP, he was diagnosed with swine flu and advised to stay at home and not attend the surgery.

Chest pains are in fact a symptom not associated with swine flu and should have been picked up during the telephone diagnosis. When the patient’s condition deteriorated sharply, an ambulance was called and the correct diagnosis was made, too late to save this patient.

Second client

This client suffered a stroke after being prescribed Tamiflu, despite advising call centre staff that she had been taking Warfarin for a number of years. Warfarin is a blood thinning medication. She was advised that it was completely safe to take the medications at the same time but it has since been discovered that a stroke is a potential side effect of taking these drugs at the same time.


It is however, unlikely that a claim for medical negligence compensation would succeed in this second example, since no warnings had been issued as to the possible side effects of these combined medications at the time they were prescribed.

Symptoms of swine flu

If you are suffering from swine flu, you will have some or all of the following symptoms.

If you are experiencing symptoms other than those listed above, it is advisable that you seek advice from your GP. You may be suffering from something other than swine flu, even if you have been diagnosed.

Misdiagnosis news stories

Clear Answers' lawyers deal with very many successful cases of all types of medical negligence and personal injury claims, including those involving misdiagnosis.

Please visit our regularly updated Personal Injury News Section to view some examples of our successful medical negligence and personal injury accident compensation claims.

Below is just one example of a recent news story which we hope you will find of interest. Please read the full story by clicking on the link.

Misdiagnosis of swine flu putting patients at risk

Making a medical negligence compensation claim

Have you or a member of your family suffered as a result of medical negligence? For more information about our service or for advice about whether we can assist you with a medical negligence compensation claim contact us today on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms. One of our representatives will contact you as soon as possible.

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