Case Study: Missed Scaphoid Fracture

Compensation: £232,500

Stuart, 29 years old, Leicester

This case study outlines how we helped a man secure £232,500 compensation after he was continually misdiagnosed for a scaphoid injury, resulting in a permanently distorted wrist. If you are looking for information on how JMW can help you to make a claim yourself you can go directly to our missed scaphoid fracture claims page here.

Stuart was working as a prison officer when he fell playing football and injured his right wrist. He attended his local A+E department that day, where a series of X-rays - which did not include scaphoid views - were taken. The X-rays were reviewed by a consultant radiologist, who failed to find an injury. Stuart was advised that there was no fracture, was given painkillers and discharged.

Continued pain

However, Stuart continued to experience pain in the wrist and returned to hospital around two months later. Although he was seen by a nurse and doctor, no further X-rays were obtained. He was reassured that there was no bone injury and sent home.

After five months, Stuart went to his GP with continued pain in his wrist. The GP requested a scaphoid X-ray, which revealed a displaced and ununited fracture of the scaphoid - a small bone situated between the hand and forearm on the thumb-side of the wrist.

Further operations

Stuart needed three operations to unite the fracture. All three operations failed, and eventually the bone became avascular (lacked a blood supply).

He was transferred to a second hospital and underwent a fourth operation to insert a bone graft, but again this was unsuccessful. Stuart’s wrist is now distorted and he has a constant pain and discomfort in it, with considerable risk of deterioration in the future. The wrist is also scarred from the repeat operations.

Stuart felt that had the fracture been correctly diagnosed at the time of the injury, the wrist would have been in plaster for a number of months. He felt that had this been the case, a full recovery would have been likely.

Negligent failure

JMW Solicitors obtained expert evidence from both an emergency medicine specialist and a radiologist, and determined there had been a negligent failure to obtain scaphoid X-rays.

The hospital admitted it had been negligent by failing to X-ray with scaphoid views, but argued it would have been difficult to determine whether the bone would have healed in any event.

However, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon confirmed that had the diagnosis been made, the prospects of successful union were very good.

The case was settled and Stuart was awarded £232,500 compensation. Stuart is no longer able to work as a prison officer, however, as his injury means it is impossible for him to conduct a control and restraint manoeuvre.

Have you also suffered due to a missed scaphoid fracture?

For more information about how to pursue a missed scaphoid fracture case, or a similar clinical negligence case, contact our specialist team today on 0800 054 6512, or fill in the enquiry form on this page.

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