Pryers Solicitors

Negligent Management of Dog Bite

*Jane* sustained a dog bite wound to her hand and wrist after trying to stop a Staffordshire bull terrier from attacking her own dog.  She attended A&E at her local hospital where an x-ray was taken to ensure there was no fracture or foreign body within the wound.  Jane was told that the x-ray showed no fracture or foreign body.

The wound was stitched closed in A&E and she was given antibiotics tablets before being allowed home.

Unfortunately, Jane began to feel unwell after sleeping through the night.  The following morning she had a fever and her arm felt very painful and heavy.  She also noticed there was an area of redness spreading out from underneath the dressing.  She went back to the A&E department at her local hospital.

A plastic surgeon examined her wrist and explained that the wound should have been left open for at least five days in order to prevent infection.  Jane was admitted to hospital immediately and given intravenous fluids and antibiotics.  She underwent a further 3 operations to thoroughly clean and debride the wound.  Jane now has extensive scarring and struggles to use her dominant hand without pain.

In August 2010, Jane approached Pryers Solicitors and investigations were begun by Richard Starkie, a Solicitor specialising in Medical Negligence Compensation Claims.  In October of the same year, having obtained copies of Jane’s medical records and x-rays, Richard wrote to the Hospital Trust setting out the allegations of negligence.  The Trust responded and denied any liability.

Richard then instructed an expert in accident and emergency medicine, who supported Jane’s case unreservedly.  The expert stated that the wound should not have been stitched in the A&E department.  The wound should only have been stitched closed once a plastic surgeon had performed a thorough cleaning and debridement of the wound.

A hand surgeon was then instructed in order to provide a view on the effect of the failure and how Jane’s wrist was at the time.  The expert stated that if the wound had not been stitched closed in the A&E department then the risk of developing a serious infection would have been less than half.  The hand plastic surgeon also stated that Jane’s injury and infection had caused considerable short term pain and disability, and pain, weakness and stiffness in the long term.

These points were put to the Defendant but it maintained its denial of liability so Court proceedings were issued and served on the Trust.

The Defendant then made an initial settlement offer of £7,500.  This was rejected and Richard entered into negotiations with the Defendant.  Jane’s case was settled for £20,000.

The case was funded by a conditional fee agreement and Jane kept all of her compensation, with nothing to pay towards legal costs.