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GP nightmares: doctors share their Halloween horror stories

Demonic children and patients appearing to return from the dead were among a number of nightmare scenarios reported by GPs this year, according to the Medical Defence Union.

The MDU asked its medical advisers to submit their own medical horror stories in the run-up to Halloween, to illustrate the variety of frightening situations that doctors face every day.

The stories included:

·         A child who was being examined for a possible chest infection asking the doctor: ‘If I stuck my hand through your ribs and pulled out your heart, how long would it keep beating?’

·         A doctor who was asked to to examine a child after its mother expressed concern about his language development finding that the only words the child would say were ‘mama’ and ‘die’ (the doctor was said to appreciate the mother’s concern)

·         A GP who was called to certify a death at home being shocked to see the supposedly dead man’s arm moving. As she looked closer, two ferrets leapt out at her from his sleeve

Dr Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services at the MDU, said that although such incidents were not commonplace, there were a number of ‘increasingly common’ situations that were guaranteed to give any doctor a fright - including misdiagnoses, patient complaints and GMC investigations.

She said:  ‘While doctors are used to dealing with life and death situations in their daily work, there are some scenarios which send a chill up even the most experienced clinician’s spine. With complaints and claims increasingly commonplace, it’s understandable for doctors to fear that they may be faced with one or both.’

She added: ‘Knowing how to deal with the situation for the best can be difficult and so it is important that the doctor seeks advice from their medical defence organisation at the earliest opportunity. Often dealing with the situation well can stop it turning into a real life horror story.’

Readers who have experienced their own primary care horror stories - whether supernatural or otherwise - are invited to share them on Twitter using the hashtag #ScaryGP.

Readers' comments (7)

  • We are all in a living nightmare at the moment.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Ha ha ha
    Everyday is Halloween for us anyway

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  • here is something to laugh about.
    'defence' organisation that take starting costs of £7500 to help doctors to write letters of apology with no interest on listening to the clinicians side
    Organisations that will drop you if you call too much for advice - think carefully before you take the advice of calling your organisation.
    their job is to balance the books. Your care and family is not a priority at all. i have heard people being dumped if they think the case is not worth fighting for.
    The above is the real Halloween story. It's no laughing matter
    So you can see defence organisation don't do much defending at all.

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  • She added: ‘Knowing how to deal with the situation for the best can be difficult and so it is important that the doctor seeks advice from their medical defence organisation at the earliest opportunity. Often dealing with the situation well can stop it turning into a real life horror story.’

    only for them to drop you when it suits them

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  • I had a Halloween nightmare....

    I had a dream whereby a bullying government who didn't understand General Practice and wanted to privatise it slowly killed it by funding cuts and spurious work increases. And then I woke up and it had come true! Aaaaagh!!!!!

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  • I was called to certify an old lady whom the home help said had died. On arrival at the house there was no sign of of the home help. I knocked repeatedly on the door and was about to go away when the old lady opened the door. She said she had heard the home help come and did not want to talk to her! She died six weeks later.

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  • Really pulse ? You are really asking this and you can't see it fir yourself man you guys astound me
    Really pulse ? , ?....,,!

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