Back to Legal Case Studies

£70,000 Awarded After Hospital Misses Scaphoid Fracture

13 November 2015

A man has received £70,000 after a scaphoid fracture injury to his wrist that he suffered whilst playing football was not picked up on a hospital x-ray.

Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Laura Craig is a clinical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

Settlement Value: £70,000

What happened: Our client sustained an injury to his wrist whilst playing football. He initially thought he had merely suffered a sprain and so treated it using a ‘Tubigrip’ and some heat rub. The pain however, soon got worse and became constant.

A year later our client went to his GP complaining of the pain. He was referred to hospital for an x-ray. The doctor advised him that he had suffered a sprain and discharged him without further treatment.

Our client decided to have private physiotherapy with various physiotherapists for nearly two years but this did not improve the symptoms at all. The final physiotherapist advised our client to return to his GP and request an MRI scan.

Following the scan, our client was informed that the original x-ray had in fact shown a scaphoid fracture to his wrist which had not been picked up. The bone fragments in his wrist were shattered by this point and had disintegrated over time.

Our client required open reduction and internal fixation surgery with a vascular bone graft in order to help his fracture heal. After the surgery, a displaced screw had slid through the bone and our client required further surgery to remove the screw.

His wrist was still extremely painful and stiff. Any movement caused him pain so he decided to undergo a total wrist fusion. He then had to have further surgery to remove the metal plate in his wrist.

How Slater and Gordon helped: We pursued a clinical negligence claim against the hospital for failing to identify our client’s scaphoid fracture.

This was a case in which our client transferred his claim from another firm of solicitors after they negotiated a very low level of damages.

Breach of duty was partially admitted but causation was disputed. We obtained Counsel’s opinion in relation to quantum and negotiated a much higher award of damages.

Impact: Our client suffered significant pain and suffering as a result of the delay in diagnosing his fracture.

As well as undergoing four operations, he also had to stop working and was diagnosed with depression.

He used to be very fit and active but can no longer do most sports. He is also unable to lift anything heavy with his left hand and cannot get in and out of a bath.

Our client now has large scars on his wrist which he is very conscious of. One of the scars is very sensitive and causes him pain upon touch.

Our client has found it very difficult to come to terms with the unfortunate set of events that befell him but he is now trying to put the injury behind him.

Decision: Following a period of negotiation, Laura successfully settled the claim for £70,000.

Related practice areas:

If you have any questions about the above case study or would like to speak with a clinical negligence solicitor, call us for a free consultation on 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.