A 23-year-old pharmacist who fell and broke his wrist has been awarded £50,000 compensation after a hospital removed his cast after just two weeks and failed to carry out further x-rays, leaving his bone permanently damaged.
The man, who does not wish to be identified, has now been awarded the substantial damages settlement after making a medical negligence claim against Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust through Hudgell Solicitors.
A student at the time of the accident, he attended at Manor Hospital in Walsall, West Midlands, complaining of pain the day after falling and landing on his wrist in May 2013.
Hospital staff carried out an x-ray and said they suspected a scaphoid fracture, putting his wrist in a cast and advising him to return in a fortnight. However, when he went back after two weeks the cast was removed and he was discharged without any further x-rays being taken.
He continued to suffer pain for the next 15 months, as he only discovered that it remained fractured in January 2014 after being referred for an x-ray by his GP.
He was subsequently referred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, in Birmingham, where he underwent surgery in August 2014 involving a bone graft and internal fixation of the wrist.
An independent consultant hand surgeon, who was asked for his opinion of the treatment as part of the legal case, said there is a 75 per cent chance of the man needing further surgery to fuse the wrist in the next 10 years, which would render him disabled under the Equality Act.
In a statement as part of the case, the pharmacist said the injury to his wrist has forced him to adapt his lifestyle, and that he now struggles to lift heavy objects.
He was unable to drive for a period of time after the injury because his wrist was too weak to change gear. He now drives an automatic car.
He has been forced to quit playing tennis or weight-lifting in the gym, and said that immediate period after the fixation surgery he needed help bathing and shaving, and that he was unable to help his mother with any jobs around the house as he was in a cast for six weeks.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust admitted it was negligent in discharging the student, and admitted failing to treat him appropriately at his follow-up appointment on June 14, 2013 by not carrying out a second x-ray on that day. It also admitted failure to immobilise the wrist by applying a cast.
Clinical Negligence Solicitor Laura Larkin, said:
“The injury to our client’s wrist has caused significant changes to his lifestyle, and will continue to do so in the future. He is a young man who was previously very physically active and enjoyed sports.
“As a result of the lack of appropriate care and treatment at the hospital, he has been forced to accept there are physical limitations to what he can do. He may need further surgery and faces the possibility of having future career options impacted by his inability to lift anything heavy.
“We are glad that the hospital trust admitted negligence in that a second x-ray should have been performed two weeks after the accident.
“If his wrist had remained in a cast for a further four weeks, our experts advise that it is likely that it would have healed and he would have made a full recovery, avoiding the need for any surgery at all.”