Clinical Negligence

A&E and radiologist fail to diagnose Lisfranc injury to foot

Mr W injured his right foot and attended Accident and Emergency at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent. X-rays were performed and his foot was examined. Mr W was informed he had a soft tissue injury and he was discharged back to the care of his GP.

Mr W continued to experience pain in his foot and approximately 7 weeks later attended his GP who sent him for further x-rays. The radiologist reviewing the x-rays recommended that Mr W be seen by an orthopaedic surgeon, which he subsequently did three months after his initial injury. In the meantime he was reviewed in the fracture clinic and informed he would need surgery to his foot.

At the appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon he was informed he had sustained a Lisfranc injury (an injury of the foot in which one or more of the metatarsal bones are displaced from the tarsus) and that this had not been recognised by A&E or the radiologist reviewing his first x-rays. He was provisionally placed on the waiting list for fusion surgery. Mr W underwent fusion of the first and second tarso-metatarsal joints four months after his original injury.

Unfortunately post-operatively it was noted that Mr W continued to have a non-union of the first tarso-metatarsal joint. Treatment options were discussed and the decision was to proceed with Exogen treatment (a bone healing system which uses safe, painless, low-intensity ultrasound waves to amplify the body’s natural bone repair processes).

Mr W instructed, Jonathan Herbert, specialist clinical negligence lawyer, to bring a clinical negligence claim on his behalf. A report was obtained from an orthopaedic expert who noted that the failure to diagnose the Lisfranc injury had led Mr W to require a larger operation than otherwise, and that he would be left with a greater loss of movement as a result. If the Lisfranc injury had been diagnosed sooner he could have undergone an internal fixation with K-wires or screws and he would likely have recovered from surgery without the complication of the non-fusion, which the expert stated was likely to require further surgery in the future.

Jonathan successfully obtained an out-of-court settlement of £18,000 to compensate Mr W for his pain and suffering and to pay for his future treatment needs.

Jonathan specialises in orthopaedic cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jonathan Herbert at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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