Managing Urgent and Life Threatening Test Results

Managing Urgent and Life Threatening Test Results


Thursday 17 October 2013

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Two recent Court cases highlighted the importance of having appropriate procedures in place to deal with urgent and life threatening test results which need to be communicated to a patient.

 

Summary points

 

  • Failures in the follow up of urgent results, e.g. raised troponin or grossly elevated INR, have been the subject of criticism in Coronial Inquests where patients have suffered harm through a lack of robust systems for communicating urgent information
  • Ensure you keep patient and referring doctor (if applicable) contact details up to date
  • If a patient cannot be contacted to inform them of urgent and life threatening results, you should contact the patient’s ‘in case of emergency’ contact or family member, or the police and/or ambulance service
  • Seek advice from your medical defence organisation if uncertain about how to proceed in a particular case.

 

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