Case study: Failure to Recognise Broken Collarbone on X-Ray

Compensation: £400,000

Nick, 45

If you are looking for information on making a claim for a broken collarbone caused by an injury, please click here to visit our personal injury claims page.

This case study outlines how JMW helped a man to claim £400,000 after doctors failed to spot his broken collarbone leaving him unable to work and putting his family in extreme financial difficulty.

Nick lost the ability to work after hospital doctors failed to notice he had broken his collar bone. This was despite the break being present on an X-Ray and Nick being in an extreme amount of pain. Nick’s case was taken on by Melissa Gardner, one of the specialist solicitors at JMW and he was later awarded £400,000 in compensation.

Start of ordeal

The start of Nick’s poor hospital treatment began a few days after he fell through his loft at home. When getting out of bed he heard a large crack and felt severe pain in his collarbone. Nick was in so much pain that he could hardly move and after calling an ambulance he was taken to hospital.

When being assessed Nick described the large crack and explained about the fall a few days previously. Nick was left sitting in a wheelchair for a long time despite the extreme pain he was in which at times reduced him to tears. The nurse had little compassion for Nick’s plight and at one point brought him a syringe with pain relief and left without any instructions on how to take it. 

Nick was eventually taken for an X-Ray and informed that this had not revealed any fracture or break and there was nothing more the hospital could do for him. Nick was sent home and advised to take paracetamol much to his shock and despair due to the amount of pain that he was in. 

Unbearable pain

Once back home Nick continued to find the pain unbearable so went to see an out-of-hours GP who was also based at the hospital that had discharged him. He described the crack that he has heard when getting out of bed however as no break had been identified on the X-Ray the GP said the problem must be muscular and sent him away with pain relief. The opportunity to investigate Nick’s symptoms further had been missed. 

Nick’s agony continued and after going to see his own GP he was referred for an appointment with an orthopaedic consultant. The appointment did not go well and the consultant claimed to have reviewed the original X-Ray and sent Nick home with instructions for exercises he should undertake as he believed the problem to be muscular. Nick tried his best to push himself to undertake these exercises despite the extreme pain he was in.

Correct diagnosis finally made

More trips to Nick’s GP followed as his condition continued to deteriorate. Nick’s shoulder had dropped by 2-3 inches and he had a large, swollen red area on his collarbone. The GP was very concerned by Nick’s condition and the fact that the referral to the consultant had resolved nothing so arranged for him to have an urgent X-Ray. Nick caught a glimpse of the X-Ray which clearly showed his collarbone was broken.

Nick was appalled by what he saw and the fact that he had been struggling on with an untreated broken collarbone for two weeks and had potentially made it worse by undertaking exercises. 

What’s more, the delay in diagnosis meant that it was now much more difficult to encourage the break to heal and despite surgery to fit a plate to his collarbone and on-going treatment Nick continued to suffer severe pain. Nick’s ability to work was seriously impacted, leaving him and his family with financial difficulties. 

Successful claim

Nick’s case was taken on by JMW’s Melissa Gardner who helped him to challenge the appalling care he had received. Melissa obtained an admission of negligence from the hospital trust and £400,000 in compensation for Nick to help him and his family to cope with the financial fall-out.

Read what Nick had to say about our service here

Have you also suffered a missed diagnosis by medical staff?

If you would like to find out more about the topics discussed above, give us a call to discuss the situation and to see whether you could be entitled to compensation. Ring us today on 0800 054 6512, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our friendly team will get in touch with you. 

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