Former NHS nurse falsely told she was dying of organ failure by GP during video call

A 92-year-old retiree was told she had organ failure after a video call with a GP where they said her yellow skin confirmed the fatal diagnosis, one that turned out to be false

The nurse was told the wrong news during a video call (stock image)

A GP who could only call via video misdiagnosed a former nurse and told the 92-year-old she was dying.

The retiree was told to begin end-of-life care after a GP told her she had organ failure during a video consultation.

The heartbreaking diagnosis was made because the doctor “could see from the video that her skin was yellow,” the woman’s son, Michael Gough Cooper, was told.

His mother, who would not name Michael, said the “feiste” former NHS staffer suffers from dementia and lives in a care home on the Isle of Wight.

She was recovering well from a Covid diagnosis the week before, when her caregivers began to worry about her loss of appetite.

They contacted the local operating room, Cowes Medical Center, to try and organize a visit, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Despite the request for a personal visit, the GP reportedly only sees the retiree via video call.

Cowes Medical Center


Google Maps)

Mr Gough Cooper, from Chiltington, West Sussex, received a phone call from his home with the heartbreaking news that his mother had been diagnosed with liver failure and was about to die.

This diagnosis would turn out to be incorrect.

Mr Gough Cooper was “shocked” to realize that the GP never visited his mother in person before making such a serious diagnosis.

He called the doctors and asked for an explanation, but was later approached by a different doctor than the one who diagnosed his mother. They simply read from the appointment notes during their conversation.

When asked how they could make such a diagnosis via video call, the GP explained that the first doctor “could see from the video that her skin was yellow”.

Mr Gough Cooper claimed the yellow skin could be anything but was told this was the GP’s conclusion.

However, he persisted and asked if the GP could now visit his mother, but was told they couldn’t due to her recent Covid diagnosis.

Mr Cough Cooper wasn’t sure if she was still testing positive at the time, but said the care home had “ample” stock of PPE.

The only way he could get a second opinion of the fatal diagnosis was to take his mother to the emergency room.

So after a four-night stay in the hospital, she was discharged and has since made a full recovery.

Mr Cough Cooper has now filed a formal complaint with the Care Quality Commission about her treatment.

A senior GP from the practice told the Daily Telegraph: “We are sorry to hear of the family’s experience. When a patient, their family member or carer shares this type of concern, we always offer to discuss the matter further.

“We have regular contact for our patients who stay in care homes
with the house [and] always support patients when the care home raises a problem related to their health.”

Isle of Wight NHS Trust has been contacted for comment.

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