Clinical Negligence

Patient unable to work due to missed fracture of foot

Mr R had suffered with polio since 1982 which had affected his left leg.

In 2014 he stepped awkwardly on his left foot as he was getting off a train.  He attended the A&E department at University College Hospital complaining about inversion of his foot and pain on weight bearing.  He was found to have tenderness at the base of the fifth metatarsal.  X-rays of the left foot were interpreted as showing no abnormality by the clinician who saw him.

However when the x-ray was reviewed by the radiologist the report noted there was a fracture of the fifth metatarsal.  Despite this, no action was taken.

Two days later Mr R went to his GP complaining he had been unable to return to work and was walking with a limp and crutch.  The GP noted Mr R had bruising of the little toe and tenderness above the third and fourth metatarsal and the sole of the foot. However, because the x-ray had been reported as showing no fracture, he diagnosed a soft tissue injury.  He advised Mr R to RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and to take pain relief.

Two weeks later Mr R returned to his GP as his foot was still very painful and he was unable to walk long distances.  After a further week, he required a sick note to say he needed amended duties at work.  Mr R worked as an enforcement officer which required a lot of walking.

Mr R attended his GP two months later with ongoing pain and another x-ray was arranged.   The x-ray showed a Jones fracture and Mr R was referred to the fracture clinic at North Middlesex University Hospital two weeks later.  Mr R was told the fracture appeared to be healing and to continue mobilising and re-attend two months later.

Two weeks later Mr R could no longer tolerate walking on the foot for work and was signed off by the GP until the date of his next review in five weeks time.

At his follow up it was noted there had been no improvement of the fracture and Mr R was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.  He was seen two weeks later and a CT scan was requested.

11 months after the original injury, Mr R underwent an open reduction and internal fixation with bone graft surgery.  In total, Mr R was unable to work for around a year.

Jenny Waight, specialist clinical negligence lawyer was instructed to act on behalf of Mr R.  She obtained orthopaedic medical evidence which argued that if Mr R’s fracture had been diagnosed correctly, he would have been placed in a cast or walking boot and told to limit his weight bearing.  It was likely if this had happened that his fracture would have healed within 12 weeks.

Jenny successfully obtained an out-of-court settlement of £10,000 to compensate Mr R for his pain and suffering.

Jenny specialises in orthopaedic cases.  If you would like to ask Jenny a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jenny Waight at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701374 in confidence.

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