£25,000 recovered for undiagnosed scaphoid fracture.

Our client, a 37 year old man from Thanet, suffered a scaphoid fracture whilst playing football in June 2010. He attended on his GP a week later with a painful hand and wrist, but the GP’s examination was not detailed and he failed to diagnose (or even consider the diagnosis of) a scaphoid fracture. Our client was not referred for an x-ray.

Our client continued to be in pain and returned to his GP practice 2 months later, seeing a different GP. That resulted in our client being referred for an x-ray, but that x-ray was mis-reported as showing no injury.

Eventually, our client, who continued to be in pain throughout, was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon at the QEQM Hospital, Margate, where the diagnosis of an old un-united scaphoid fracture was made. Our client then underwent an operation for bone grafting and pinning the fracture, and after a further operation to remove the metalwork his fracture did unite leaving only minimal ongoing symptoms.

Although the x-ray was mis-reported by the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, expert evidence confirmed that it was not causative of injury as the window of opportunity to treat the scaphoid fracture had already passed.

The claim therefore proceeded against the GP, for the failure to adequately examine and treat our client in June 2010.

The Defendant’s legal representatives initially sought to deny the claim. However, after further correspondence, and despite maintaining the denial of breach of duty, the Defendant began trying to negotiate a settlement.

Their opening offer was £12,500, but after detailed negotiations, settlement was achieved in the sum of £25,000.

Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the claim, commented:

This case is yet another example of what seems to be a regularly occurring problem, in both the GP and A&E setting, of the failure to diagnose a scaphoid fracture.

Although it can be a difficult diagnosis to make immediately following the injury, it is possible. And, in the alternative, review of the patient within a couple of weeks results in the diagnosis being much easier to make.

In this particular case, I am pleased both that my client’s ongoing symptoms are only minimal, and that a good settlement was achieved.”