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Medical Negligence Solicitor Settles Scaphoid Fracture Case for £30,000

18 July 2013

Emma has settled another scaphoid compensation case, making it three this year. Our client, Mr Worthington, from South Shields, injured his wrist whilst playing rugby on 22nd January 2012. He was in a lot of pain, his wrist was swollen and he had limited movement in his wrist.

He attended the A&E Department at South Tyneside Hospital where he was seen by a triage nurse. She examined his wrist and told him it was sprained. His wrist was not x-rayed. The nurse placed it in a splint and told him the swelling would go down and to remove the splint in 7 to 10 days.

2 ½ weeks after the initial injury the swelling had gone down but our client was still suffering from pain in his wrist. He struggled to do his job as a gym instructor. After 5 weeks following the injury he was still suffering symptoms and attended his GP on 21st February 2012. He was referred back to South Tyneside Hospital for an x-ray. 

An x-ray was taken on 23rd February 2012 and this demonstrated he had fractured his scaphoid bone. He had an MRI scan on 29th February 2012 and was told he needed an urgent operation on his wrist. He underwent surgery to pin his wrist on 9th March 2012.

Over one year later and our client is only just starting to return to normal although he still cannot partake in sports and gym work as he used to do. Clearly this is very frustrating for a young man for whom this is his livelihood. He received £30,000 in compensation.

This is Emma's third settled case this year regarding this type of injury and she is running numerous more claims of the same type. According to some research, scaphoid fracture is the most common type of bone fracture in the wrist. Scaphoid fractures are most commonly diagnosed by x-rays of the wrist. However, when the fracture is not displaced, x-rays taken early (first week) may appear negative. Consequently a patient who has significant tenderness directly over the scaphoid bone (which is located in the hollow at the thumb side of the wrist, or “snuffbox”) should be suspected of having a scaphoid fracture and should be provided with a splint until he or she can be x-rayed approximately ten days later. An X-ray slightly later may then more clearly reveal the fracture. In questionable cases, MRI scan, CT scan, or bone scan may be used to help diagnose an acute scaphoid fracture. Until a definitive diagnosis is made, the patient should remain splinted to prevent movement of a possible fracture.

Frequently, however, the diagnosis of this scaphoid injury is delayed with medical staff making the incorrect diagnosis of a sprain. However, such incorrect diagnoses can have serious effects on the long term prognosis of the injured person’s wrist. A delay in the diagnosis and treatment of a scaphoid fracture may alter the prognosis for union, increase the risk of avascular necrosis, and dramatically increase the long-term likelihood of arthritis. It is therefore extremely important that the NHS increases awareness of this type of injury and how to diagnose and manage it.

If you have suffered a delay in medical diagnosis please contact us for a free consultation.

Emma Doughty is a Medical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London. Call freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.