Q: In April I tripped and fell onto stone paving. I put my hand out to save myself and badly damaged my wrist and knee. At my GP surgery I saw a nurse who said they just seemed to be badly bruised.
I was quite surprised that she didn’t suggest an x-ray as I was in tremendous pain but didn’t want to cause a fuss. The knee swelling went down, but the wrist pain just got worse. I saw the nurse again with the same complaint, but she repeated the same advice.
Being the hand that I write with, the pain was preventing me from doing lots of things, so I asked to have it x-rayed. It transpires that I had fractured the scaphoid bone which has now set incorrectly, and I need surgery. The damage is likely to cause permanent problems, even after the surgery. Can I claim compensation?
A: Delayed diagnosis of a scaphoid fracture can indeed cause significant long- term problems and you may well have a valid case for claiming compensation.
A thorough examination should have been conducted when you saw the nurse. Often, swelling and pain at the base of the thumb is a good indicator of a scaphoid fracture. This type of fracture is also commonly associated with a fall onto an outstretched hand, as you describe.
Due to the risk of serious consequences from a delay in diagnosis of this type of fracture, it may be considered that you should have been sent for an x-ray, if only to eliminate this as a potential diagnosis.
Treatment may include the need for open surgery and bone graft. Unfortunately, sometimes, there can be long term problems, including arthritis in the wrist joints, which can greatly impact on quality of life.
As you can see, there are a number of angles to consider when putting together a claim, so you should make an appointment to see a good local injury lawyer as soon as possible.
This question has been answered by Claire Parfitt, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.
Phone: 01978 291456
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