Local practitioner, Jacob Randrup

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Local doctor rejected Danilo

The next morning, 14 October 2011, Danilo called a general practitioner in the city he lived in at that time – just as the Emergency Medical Service in Frederikshavn had told him. The local practitioner should, according to the Emergency Medical Service, help him get in contact with a psychologist to perform further examination. The local doctor was informed about the consultation with the Emergency Medical Service the day before, yet Danilo was not offered a consultation. Instead, he was told that he should contact his own practitioner, who was 400 of kilometers away at Sjælland. The conversation with the local doctor was never communicated to Danilo’s own practitioner, as it should, and therefore a whole year passed by before Danilo’s father by coincidence found out that Danilo had tried to get help from the local doctor shortly before his death.

Read memos aloud
Denis immediately called the practitioner to hear what he had told Danilo. With Marianne listening, the local doctor read aloud from the notes from 14 October. Here, it appeared that Danilo had been at the Emergency Medical Service the day before: “He was told that he should contact a doctor for antidepressants. “I recommend that Danilo contact his own practitioner, ” the doctor read aloud for Danilo’s parents. According to them, he several times stressed that he could not remember the conversation with Danilo, and that he could only tell them what was written in the notes. Yet the parents remember that he added, “I assume that I also asked Danilo if he had thoughts of taking his own life. I probably did ask? “It surprised Denis and Marianne that he could not remember anything from the conversation, but nevertheless recalled that he had asked about suicidal thoughts.

Adding to notes
The parents asked for a copy of the doctor’s notes, and two hours later, they received them. However, the medical record was dated October 14, 2012 – almost a year after Danilo hanged himself. It was a mistake, the parents were told, and shortly after they received a medical record with the correct date. They began to read the few lines. To their surprise, there was now added more information in relation to what the practitioner had just read aloud on the phone. Now it said both that the doctor had recommended Danilo to initially contact his own practitioner (*****the addition is in italics*****), and in addition the doctor had also written: “No thoughts of taking his own life at all”.

Five minutes of elucidation
The new information surprised Danilo’s parents, and they began to consider whether they had only just been added after the telephone conversation with the doctor. In their opinion it seemed incredible that the doctor should have been able to elucidate whether Danilo was suicidal in the few minutes they talked. Denis and Marianne could see on Danilo’s phone that the call – including waiting time by the Secretary – only lasted five minutes. In these minutes the doctor did not ask where Danilo was currently living, and he did not know that Danilo went to the Maritime College in Frederikshavn, several hundred kilometers away from his own doctor. Therefore, Marianne and Denis found it strange that the local doctor should have had time to ask about suicidal thoughts when he had not even asked the most basic questions first. Even in the case that the local doctor asked about suicidal thoughts, Danilo’s parents do not think that a five minutes long call was enough to assess the patient. Especially seen in light that it is normal procedure for specialists in psychiatry, to do a personal conversation. The short call makes the Terrida Family call the treatment “careless” and Marianne fear that they are not the only parents who no longer dare to trust doctors to take care of their children when they move to other parts of country, far away from the family.

Vague criticism of local doctor
Marianne and Denis chose to complain about the treatment Danilo had received by the local practitioner in Frederikshavn. In Spring of 2014 they succeeded at the Health Authorities Disciplinary Board. The Board is the public authority that criticizes individuals in the health care system. The subject of the criticism was that the local doctor had not informed Danilo’s own doctor about the call. It is important, when required, to follow up on the patient if the patient comes in with a potentially severe condition, according to the Disciplinary Board. The local doctor had thus acted below the standard for generally accepted professional standards when he treated Danilo telephonically. At the same time, Marianne and Denis also complained that the local doctor did not call Danilo for a personal consultation, as he was 400 km away from his own practitioner. Based on the medical records, which Marianne and Denis are convinced is filled with addings, the Disciplinary Board rejected the complaint. Exactly because the doctor, according to the medical record, had asked whether Danilo had suicidal thoughts, the Disciplinary Board did not criticize him for having treated Danilo only on the phone. A decision which Marianne and Denis do not have the opportunity to appeal, even though they feel that it is a decision made on a wrong premise. In addition, it also shook Danilos parents that it was they who had to find out that Danilo had been in contact with the local doctor. They expected that the Health Authorities were able to find such important information in a case where the doctor did not act according to the law.

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