Mrs Ryan complained that the defendant GP had been too slow to refer her for hospital and/or orthopaedic treatment on an infected calcaneal (heel) ulcer in her neuropathic right foot. Ostemyelitis had set in after she saw her GP, which infection into the bone subsequently led to the need for amputation of the foot.

Mr Piper for Dr Yick argued that it was comfortably within the range of reasonable responses to treat the foot ulcer in the community with antibiotics and to carry out further investigations without any urgent referral following consultation in the GP surgery. Ultimately that argument prevailed.

In his judgment, the judge expressed in strong terms that the Bolam test applied and there had been absolutely no negligence on the part of Dr Yick on that basis. He also preferred the Defendant’s factual and expert evidence to that of the Claimant. The judge observed of the Claimant’s GP expert that he had been “blinkered” as to the existence of any possible alternatives to an immediate referral, and that he had viewed matters at times with the comforting blanket of hindsight.

The claim was dismissed with judgment and costs to the Defendant.