£50,000 recovered for failure to diagnose ruptured Achilles tendon

Our client, a 69 year old woman from Canterbury, had been suffering with tendonitis and was under the care of a physiotherapist at the time that she sustained injury to her Achilles tendon.

She attended the A&E Department at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital but despite presenting with classic symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture she was misdiagnosed as having only a partial tear and was advised to keep a physiotherapy appointment which she had a couple of days later.

When she saw the physiotherapist a couple of days later she again presented with classic symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture but was again diagnosed as having suffered only a partial tear.

On neither occasion was she examined by an Orthopaedic Consultant, and nor were any x-rays or scans undertaken.

As a result of the missed diagnosis she embarked upon a lengthy course of physiotherapy treatment, which involved exercises which are known to exacerbate the effects of Achilles tendon rupture.

Having derived no benefit from the NHS physiotherapy, she sought a second opinion from a private physiotherapist six months later. That physiotherapist identified signs of Achilles tendon rupture and immediately referred her to her GP, who in turn referred her to a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and an MRI confirmed the true extent of the injury. As a result she underwent an operation to repair the Achilles tendon and then required a lengthy period of rehabilitation.

Both the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (responsible for the A&E treatment), and the Eastern and Coastal Kent NHS PCT (responsible for the physiotherapy treatment) agreed to settle the claim, out of Court, in the total amount of £50,000.

Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the case throughout, commented:-

“There were a number of missed opportunities to correctly investigate and diagnose the injury sustained by my client, most significantly by the NHS physiotherapist, and unfortunately as a result of the length of the delay in correctly diagnosing the injury my client has suffered a significantly worse outcome than she could otherwise have expected from the injury.”