Monday, January 08, 2007

Doctors ‘kept policeman’s illness secret for 12 years’

A policeman from East Sussex has accused the medical profession of "playing God" for not telling him he had multiple sclerosis for more than ten years.

PC Gary Dimmock, 42, from Westham, has received more than £10,000 compensation in an out-of-court settlement from the East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

His GP suspected multiple sclerosis in 1992 but he was not diagnosed until 2003.

His lawyers successfully argued that he should have begun treatment at least 12 years ago. They said he developed far worse symptoms as a result of not being treated.

The officer said doctors hid the news from him by exercising their right to "therapeutic privilege".

He feared he had MS after researching the condition on the internet but said he was dismissed as a "cyberchondriac" by his GP when he raised his suspicions.

Multiple sclerosis is a disabling neurological condition whereby the body's immune system attacks itself, causing fatigue and limb weakness. There is no cure for the condition and some sufferers experience difficulty in swallowing and muscle spasms or tremors.

PC Dimmock said he was "ping-ponged" back and forth for years between his GP, his consultant neurologist at Eastbourne District General Hospital, and an ophthalmologist. All their notes made reference to him having MS but no one told him the truth.

He said: "When I saw the medical notes for the first time I cried. They were littered with references to MS."