This case study of J v Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust  demonstrates the expertise of our Clinical Negligence team who recently recovered an undisclosed sum for a lady who suffered extended pain and suffering and anxiety as a result of a failure to diagnose a fractured neck.
On 24 February 2006 Mrs J fell down stairs at home. She saw her GP on 26 February 2006 who referred her to Epsom General Hospital. At hospital Mrs J complained of pain in her head, neck and back. A neck-brace was fitted and imaging taken. Mrs J was kept in for 4 days before being discharged on 2 March 2006 having been told that her neck was bruised. On this basis, Mrs J who owned and looked after horses continued with the heavier activities that were associated with this.
On 8 March 2006 Mrs J was contacted by telephone by the hospital requesting her to return to the hospital. On the basis that she had an appointment the following day, she was not asked to return the day the telephone conversation took place. On 9 March 2006 Mrs J was informed that she had a fractured neck (an avulsion fracture of the anterior and superior aspects of C7 and T1) which had been missed. The initial imaging did not include C7.
Mrs J stressed that if she had known that there was a significant problem with her neck she would have avoided heavy or strenuous activities. About two weeks after the accident Mrs J noticed weakness of her left arm and in both hands and in one or two of the fingers of each hand. Mrs J was concerned that the 11 day delay in commencing treatment had compromised her prospects of recovery and moreover, had left her in a worse condition.
Ultimately two operations were performed: the first a C6/7 fusion performed on 23 May 2006 and the second, a C7/T1 fusion, performed on 13 November 2007.
The hospital accepted the failure to diagnose Mrs J’s injury. Thereafter we investigated the consequences of the delay in commencing appropriate treatment. Fortunately for Mrs J, it transpired that she had suffered no long term physical compromise by the delay. We therefore went on to secure a settlement for her to reflect not just the additional pain and suffering she experienced, but also for the anxiety she suffered until the expert we instructed on her behalf was able to clarify the consequences of the delay in the diagnosis and treatment of her injury.
Read more about our experience in cases involving orthopaedic injury and A&E.
Jonathan Herbert has significant experience of dealing with orthopaedic cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case involving an orthopaedic injury or you have a general query about medical negligence contact him on 01892 701226 in confidence.
We have one of the largest and most experienced specialist medical negligence teams in Southern England including London. Our team of highly experienced lawyers has the depth and range of expertise essential in this sensitive and often complex area of law. Our clinical negligence team is very proud to be ranked Number 1 in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners UK.