Damages for man unable to straighten arm after hospital misdiagnosis

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Damages for man unable to straighten arm after hospital misdiagnosis

15th January 2016

A Reading man, who can no longer straighten his left arm after doctors at his local hospital failed to diagnose a broken elbow, has received £10,500 in an out of court settlement.

Jacqui Hayat, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Fentons Solicitors, part of Slater & Gordon, said her client, who is Polish and in his 20s, had suffered weeks of unnecessary pain as a result of the error, and the subsequent delay in treatment had affected the way his arm had healed.

"When my client slipped and fell heavily onto his left dominant arm he knew immediately that his injury was serious as he could barely move his arm and his elbow was extremely swollen and painful," said Jacqui, a principal lawyer with the firm. "But, after being x-rayed at his local accident and emergency department he was discharged and told that there was no sign of a fracture.

"Over the next few weeks, after he continued to suffer persistent and excruciating pain in his elbow and arm his GP advised him to return to hospital," she said. "Incredibly, after undergoing a re-examination, he was then told he’d suffered a complex elbow fracture and needed immediate surgery. Following an operation to insert three screws into his left elbow, his arm was put in plaster for the next three weeks."

After his cast was removed, the claimant’s elbow remained extremely stiff and tender. Throughout the following months, he had to take painkillers continuously to ease his discomfort and because he could barely move his arm without pain he was eventually forced to give up his job. This unfortunately put him under huge financial strain and on top of having to rely on his friends to help him with getting dressed and cooking his meals he also had to ask them to help him with his bills.

Jacqui said that it was clear from the medical evidence she secured that her client’s injury should have been managed by a consultant with a specialist interest and experience in dealing with elbow injuries. "If my client had received an earlier CT scan and operation he could have been spared weeks of excruciating pain as well as much of the stiffness he has continued to suffer since his operation," she said.

"Despite having received extensive physiotherapy, he is now unable to fully straighten his left elbow. Although he no longer needs any painkillers he continues to suffer frequent pins and needles over the screw heads in his elbow. The fact that he is left-handed means he finds it very difficult carrying anything heavy and he struggles with everyday tasks such as getting dressed, reaching up to shelves and washing his hair.

"Had he received the appropriate treatment for what was a complex elbow fracture, it is likely that he would have been able to return to work within three months of his operation," she added. "The delay in treatment has meant he hasn’t been able to return to his job or undertake any kind of physical activity or manual labour. This has obviously been extremely frustrating for him and has greatly affected his mental health. Sadly, he may need further surgery in the future and the chances of him being able to achieve a full range of movement around his arm remain slim."

After the defendant hospital conceded that the claimant’s fracture should have been diagnosed sooner they apologised for the suffering caused and Jacqui settled the claim on behalf of her client for £10,500.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to medical negligence.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.