Clinical Negligence

Thumb surgery causes ruptured tendon, pain and poor movement

Mrs P, who was in her sixties, injured her right thumb many years previously which caused increasing pain at the base of her thumb.

She saw a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Horder Centre, Crowborough, in East Sussex.  The surgeon performed a trapeziectomy (removal of a small bone at the base of the thumb) which improved the pain at the base of the thumb, but Mrs P then experienced pain in the first metacarpophalangeal (MCT) joint.  A steroid injection brought only temporary relief.

The surgeon therefore performed an arthrodesis on the MCP joint.  The cast was removed six weeks later, but two weeks after that, Mrs P had almost no ability to bend the thumb (flexion).

Two months later, the surgeon performed a further operation to remove the wires in the thumb.  This enabled Mrs P to have passive flexion in the interphalangeal joint, but still no active flexion.

Mrs P underwent an ultrasound scan two months later and was informed by the surgeon that during the arthrodesis procedure he had ruptured the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon.  He referred Mrs P to his surgical colleague.  Mrs P then underwent two stage tendon reconstructions and a z-plasty in an effort to improve the scarring.  Unfortunately Mrs P continued to suffer with significant ongoing pain in her right thumb and restricted movement.

Oliver Chapman, specialist clinical negligence lawyer, was instructed and obtained medical evidence from a hand surgeon which confirmed that, in rupturing the FPL tendon during surgery, the surgeon had been negligent.  A letter of claim was sent and breach of duty was promptly admitted.

Oliver argued that if she had not sustained injury to her thumb, Mrs P would have continued to work for at least another two further years.  He successfully claimed for her lost earnings and subsequent loss of pension stemming from her early retirement.

Oliver successfully negotiated a settlement of £47,000 prior to the need to issue court proceedings.

Oliver specialises in orthopaedic cases.  If you would like to ask Oliver a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence, contact Oliver Chapman at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701234 in confidence.

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