£30,000 obtained for failure to diagnose dislocated shoulder

Our client, a 64 year old man from Folkestone, suffered a shoulder injury following a fall from his scooter in December 2008.

Having initially not thought anything serious was wrong he did not seek medical advice. The next day he attended on a private physiotherapist in the hope that some exercises would minimise the pain and stiffness in his shoulder.

The physiotherapist failed to undertake an adequate assessment and to arrange an x-ray of the shoulder – something that should be done in cases involving traumatic injury before exercises are provided to a patient.

As a result of those failures, our client embarked upon a course of physiotherapy treatment, which ran for around three months, before he eventually decided to see his GP who sent him for an x-ray of the shoulder.

The x-ray confirmed a dislocated shoulder, which expert evidence later confirmed had been dislocated at the time of the accident. Due to the delays and the further damage caused, he required an operation to relocate the shoulder joint.

The private physiotherapist, via his insurance company, settled the claim out of Court in the total amount of £30,000.

Alex Tengroth, who dealt with the case, commented:-

“It is unusual to have a claim against a physiotherapist as they do not ordinarily see patients in the immediate aftermath of injury. This case highlights the importance of all medical practitioners undertaking a full assessment and obtaining a full range of appropriate investigations before embarking upon treatment.

Thankfully, my client has largely recovered his shoulder function, such that the ongoing consequences do not have a significant impact on his daily life.”