Client story: £267,000 settlement for missed fracture
For most of us, a fracture is a routine injury and one that the majority of us will make a full recovery from.
But whilst thousands of us are treated for fractures each year, mistakes can happen, due to inadequate checks, an inexperienced doctor or the fracture being hard to locate.
Quite rightly we expect a medical professional to be able to treat a fracture with relative ease. However a failure to treat even the simplest of fracture injuries can have long-term implications, as this case study demonstrates.
Our client, Mr G, was playing football when he bent his wrist and fingers back. He felt immediate pain and swelling so visited A&E; however doctors failed to diagnose a scaphoid fracture and he was discharged without the need for follow up.
Mr G continued to experience pain, couldn’t grip or apply force and was having difficulty doing his job as a carpenter. He was referred to physiotherapy by his GP but it was a further five months before x-rays were taken again. These showed a scaphoid fracture and our client underwent surgery.
With no immediate chance of recovery, Mr G was dismissed by his employer. His first child was born the same month and he and his wife became dependent on benefits.
Our client’s symptoms persisted and two years later he underwent surgery again to remove the screws in his wrist. However, this was of little benefit. He was offered further surgery to fuse the wrist, but this was not recommended and he declined.
Mr G continued to suffer permanent pain, reduced grip strength and restricted movement and stiffness in his wrist. He couldn’t return to his carpentry job and partially retrained as an electrician, but was unable to carry out most of the manual aspects of the role.
He found alternative work, but was limited in the jobs he could do and his future earnings capacity was significantly reduced.
Long-term impact of our client’s injury
Had the fracture been correctly diagnosed at the time, our client is likely to have made a full recovery, without the need for surgery.
Instead his injury has had a significant impact on his life, including his ability to care for his children. Our client also needed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to manage depression.