Fracture and Medical Negligence: Case Study

Written by
Piarais Neary on
01 December 2021

At a glance:

We acted in a High Court case for our client, a patient, who alleged negligent medical care after suffering fractures to her foot. We achieved settlement - a 6 figure sum together with High Court costs - during the week of trial without admission of liability from the medics involved.

What happened in the case?

After suffering an unfortunate fall when she was thrown from a horse whilst horse riding our client attended an independently owned trauma clinic where x-rays were performed. She was diagnosed as having sustained a fracture to her foot. She was discharged by the clinic in an air boot and advised to follow up with an orthopaedic surgeon 10 days later. She returned to the trauma clinic 10 days later and the original x-rays were reviewed by the consultant orthopaedic surgeon and no further x-rays were carried out.

She was advised by the orthopaedic surgeon to continue to wear the boot for a further period of 4 weeks, to then wean off the boot and subsequently to wear an arch support thereafter. Our client was discharged and there was no appointment provided for a follow up.

Delay in recieving correct treatment

Over the coming weeks, our client experienced significant ongoing pain and discomfort in the foot. At this point, she was referred via her GP to a surgeon in an HSE hospitalwhere it was confirmed that she had sustained a fracture dislocation of the chopart joint of her right foot involving a navicular fracture and talar fracture. The full extent of her injury was not realised by the original treating consultant orthopaedic surgeon in the independent trauma clinic.

Due to the delay in our client receiving correct treatment post-accident, she was required to have a chopart fusion carried out on her foot. This meant that our client was left with some permanent disability and reduced abduction and flexion in the joint into the future.

Misdiagnosed fracture causes ongoing pain and discomfort

In the absence of having the chopart fusion carried out, our client would continue to suffer ongoing pain and discomfort.

Our client had the chopart fusion carried out and made a functional recovery from the accident. However, our client was left with scarring on her ankle where the surgery was performed.

How HOMS Assist helped

We were instructed by our client to issue High Court proceedings against the independent trauma clinic and the treating orthopaedic surgeon. The basis of the claim was that had our client had the appropriate management, a CT scan would have been requested at the time of initial treatment. She would have had an open reduction and internal fixation of the navicular with screws through one small incision and would have made a full recovery to pre-accident status in a period of between three to six months from the date of the injury, with no long term consequence to the injury.

High Court proceedings were issued and the defendants delivered a full defence with liability fully an issue in this case.

Outcome for our client

The matter was listed for hearing and in the week of the trial, settlement talks were arranged, and the case settled ultimately for a 6 figure sum together with High Court costs.

The client was delighted that the case was resolved without having to go to trial but frustrated that she had to go through the ordeal of receiving the negligent treatment and then having to litigate her case to the finish line.

There was no admission made by the independent trauma clinic or the treating orthopaedic surgeon in relation to the matter.

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