Medical Negligence

Broken glass in foot was missed on x-ray and became further embedded in patient’s sole

foot xray
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Kirsty Yates

Litigation Executive

4 min read time

Damages have been paid to a man who needed surgery under general anaesthetic to remove a piece of broken glass from his foot after it was missed on an x-ray and became further embedded in his sole.

Had the glass been identified on the day the man attended at Bransholme Urgent Treatment Centre, it could have been removed by a nurse using forceps and cleaned with no further impact on his day to day life.

However, due to being missed, the glass became further embedded in his foot, so much so that it needed surgery to remove and caused the man to miss more than a month at work.

The mistake was discovered when staff at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust reviewed the scans the day after the man had initially been seen.

They contacted the Bransholme centre which then rearranged for the patient to return and be seen again – a week after initially suffering the injury when stepping on a glass at home.

Patient was unhappy when told surgery under general anaesthetic was needed

The patient said he was told over the phone that a ‘substantial piece of glass’ had been left in his foot.

“I wasn’t very happy at all because when I went back I was shown the x-ray and where the glass was visible, so I couldn’t understand how it had been missed,” said the man, who was 24 at the time and worked as an engineer.

“When I was told I was going to need surgery, under general anaesthetic, I was not really happy about it at all as I don’t really like being put to sleep.

“When I’d left after being seen the first time I was told all was fine and that it was ok to put full pressure on my foot, so that will have only made the glass become further embedded.

“I ended up needed sutures and it was painful and uncomfortable for some time so I missed a good few weeks of work and also all of my pre-season for my rugby club, which actually had a big impact on me that year in terms of keeping my place in the side.

“It was only a minor injury as I’d simply got off the sofa at home and forgotten I’d put a glass on the floor, so stepped right onto it. To be told it should have all been sorted that first day, but for it to then impact on work and my rugby because of a mistake upset me and that’s why I sought legal advice.”

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Legal claim alleged x-ray error was breach of duty of care

Litigation Executive Kirsty Yates, part of the medical negligence compensation claims team at Hudgell Solicitors, said an independent emergency nursing expert, consulted as part of the case, advised that, in her opinion, the treatment had been negligent.

She said: “The glass should have been recognised by the nurse on the x-ray, and the expert opinion was that at that time the removal process would have involved the wound being numbed via a local anaesthetic, cleaned and the glass shard removed with forceps.

“It would have been an extremely quick procedure, more likely than not taking less than 20 minutes and would have been performed by a nurse. Ultimately our client had to undergo a more complex and time-consuming procedure which had an impact on his life, both in terms of work and his sporting career.”

Legal representatives of the City Health Care Partnership, which runs the Bransholme Urgent Treatment Centre, accepted breach of duty of care in failing to identify the glass on the x-ray and remove it on the day the patient was first seen in December 2019.

The patient added: “I was very pleased with the support Kirsty Yates gave me throughout the case. She always ensured I knew what was happening and why, and she was in constant contact with me to provide updates. I am happy with the outcome.

“It was something which I felt needed challenging and investigating because it could all have been avoided simply by assessing my x-ray carefully.”

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