In 2004 Mrs B slipped on some ice and fell awkwardly, landing with most of her weight on her right wrist. After attending A&E, Mrs B was x-rayed but discharged after being told she had just suffered a sprain.
In fact, those x-rays revealed a subtle but visible scaphoid fracture that required prompt splinting to ensure the bone healed in the correct position. This was reported by the radiologist, but not communicated to Mrs B.
As a result of this Mrs B was allowed to continue with her usual activities for a further six years.
As the years passed Mrs B’s wrist became increasingly painful, particularly when she was participating in physical activity. She eventually returned to hospital where further x-rays revealed that the old fracture had not fully healed and had caused malformation in the wrist.
Mrs B required a major operation to reset her wrist. Unfortunately, due to the six year delay this was unsuccessful and another operation was required where the damaged bone had to be removed.
Mrs B has been left with permanent symptoms and a loss of function in her right wrist.
This case shows that even the subtlest injuries can have major long-term consequences. Communication from and between doctors is key to ensuring that patients receive timely and appropriate treatment and enjoy the best possible recovery.
Mrs B received £125,000 in compensation as a result of her injuries.