Our client, Hayley*, received £270,000 in compensation from Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust following their failure to properly assess a laceration injury to her right little, ring and middle fingers when she was de-stoning an avocado.
Incorrect Diagnosis in A&E
They had diagnosed a superficial injury requiring only dressing when in fact she had divided the tendons in her fingers.
By the time she was correctly diagnosed by a different hospital 2 months later it was too late to repair the tendons using the standard one stage primary repair.
Over the next 2 years she had to undergo 3 operations which left her with a badly scarred and deformed hand with a significant loss of function. This treatment was very painful and involved extensive physiotherapy.
She sought help from Longden Walker and Renney and spoke with our solicitor, Jonathan Crawford.
Jonathan obtained and considered her medical records, then sought independent evidence initially from an expert in A&E medicine who confirmed that, in his view, the hospital had been negligent in not recognizing the injury and treating her promptly. He recommended a medical report from a specialist hand surgeon.
An independent hand surgeon confirmed that prompt treatment would have resulted in one stage primary repair of the tendons within a few days of the injury, rather than the 2 stage procedure she underwent. This was a complex and more lengthy form of treatment than primary repair.
In addition she had to undergo a further operation involving joint release combined with tenolysis.
As she was right handed her ability to perform a wide range of activities was reduced, resulting in her function around the home being significantly reduced, particularly in the kitchen. Her ability to obtain a job was heavily compromised by her injuries as her hand was not suited to any job that required anything other than the most basic functions.
If the hospital had not been negligent and she had undergone the primary repair she would most likely have made an excellent to good recovery. She was left with permanent scarring, more extensive than would have occurred with primary repair.
Jonathan prepared and sent a Letter of Claim to the Trust, prompting a response in which they admitted fault in not recognizing that she had a serious injury to her hand when she attended the hospital. They accepted that if treated competently she would have had a primary repair of the tendons involving a single operation within a few days of injury and would have had a better outcome.
Further evidence was obtained from a care expert who assessed that she would need future help around the home and some aids and adaptations to help improve her ability to perform her daily activities, particularly around the home. An expert Psychologist was also instructed to prepare a report. She was of the opinion she had suffered a psychological reaction in the form of an adjustment disorder with anxiety. She was very self-conscious about the appearance of her hand.
It was agreed between the parties that an independent mediation be set up so that they attempt to agree settlement of the case thereby avoiding the need for a trial. This is a much less adversarial process to enable settlement of cases where a defendant has admitted fault. The mediation was successful and the Trust agreed to pay Hayley £270,000 in compensation.
Specialist legal advice concerning a Claim for damages can also be of enormous significance for those who have suffered as a result of medical negligence. Compensation can cover the cost of medical treatment, equipment, education and care services that otherwise may not be available.
If, like Hayley, you have suffered injuries due to a failure on the part of clinicians to diagnose your condition correctly, it is important that you obtain expert legal advice as soon as possible.
Do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Crawford by email at email@example.com or call us on 0191 5666 500. Alternatively, fill in our short enquiry form and one of our specialist solicitors will be in touch.
*A pseudonym used to protect the identify of our Clients