If your scaphoid fracture was not diagnosed properly or early enough by a medical professional, you could be able to make a claim to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused. Such errors can have very serious consequences on your day-to-day life, and the expert team at Hospital Negligence is here to make sure you have all the guidance and knowledge needed to make a successful claim.
If you, or someone you know, have suffered a scaphoid fracture and feel this was not diagnosed or treated correctly, get in touch with our team today to discuss your options. Call us on 0800 014 7481 or complete our online enquiry form.
Scaphoid fractures can have a serious impact on a person's everyday life as they can result in pain and poor mobility of the wrist, and can even lead to long-term disability. It is therefore very important that such fractures are diagnosed early to avoid the need for surgery.
Read About Claims We Have Handled
Case study: missed scaphoid fracture - £33,000
Barry (34) fell while playing rugby and landed awkwardly on his right hand. He thought it was a simple sprain, but after two weeks the pain persisted and he found it difficult to grip with that hand so he attended A&E. He was examined and “pain along whole of thumb and at distal radius” was noted. A plain X-ray of the wrist was taken, but no fracture was seen.
Fracture missed on x-ray
Fracture of the scaphoid bone is often difficult to see on a plain X-ray so when it is suspected (as it should have been here with this history) special scaphoid X-rays should be requested. Barry was seen in the fracture clinic the next day; the wrist was put in a splint and he was discharged with instructions to begin mobilisation.
Physiotherapist suspects a scaphoid fracture
Barry continued to have pain in his wrist and after six months he consulted his GP who referred him for physiotherapy. Some months later Barry consulted the physiotherapist who immediately suspected the problem might be a non-united scaphoid fracture and sent him back to his GP. Barry was then referred to a private hand surgeon who ordered scaphoid view X-rays of the wrist and, sure enough, there was a non-united fracture of the scaphoid bone.
A bone graft and surgical fixation of the fracture was carried out (16 months after the initial injury) and the wrist was immobilised in a splint for 12 weeks. Six months later the pins were removed as the fracture had healed and Barry went on to make a good recovery.
The hospital admitted their breach of duty in not diagnosing and treating Barry’s scaphoid fracture. If the wrist had initially been immobilised for a period of 10-16 weeks it is more than likely that the fracture would have healed and Barry would have been spared months of pain and discomfort and inconvenience.
Barry’s case was taken on by the experts at Hospital Negligence and he was awarded £33,000 in compensation.
Case study: failure to investigate scaphoid fracture leads to avoidable surgery - £32,000
Simon had to undergo avoidable surgery after a nurse failed to investigate the possibility that he had suffered a fracture to the scaphoid bone in his wrist after a fall. The medical law experts at Hospital Negligence secured Simon £32,000 for his pain and suffering.
Broken wrist in a fall, missed by a nurse
Simon struggled with his mobility due to a condition that he lived with and one day suffered a fall, landing on his outstretched hand. At first it was thought that he had just sustained a minor injury which would soon get better however a couple of weeks later his left wrist was still painful so he went along to an urgent care centre to have it checked out.
A nurse examined Simon’s wrist but said that due to protocol she was unable to send him for X-rays as the injury was more than two weeks old. She said that it was probably just badly bruised and told him to go to see his GP if his symptoms did not improve.
On-going pain and a referral to the fracture clinic 10 weeks later
About a month later Simon went to see his GP as his wrist was still painful and troubling. The GP sent Simon for X-rays which revealed that he had broken the scaphoid bone in the wrist.
Simon was referred to a fracture clinic and he was seen by a consultant who was concerned that the urgent care centre had sent him away causing a delay of almost 10 weeks. The scaphoid fracture would have healed well if his wrist had been placed in a cast at an early stage. However after undergoing a CT scan it became clear that Simon would need to undergo a bone grafting operation to ensure that the fracture united.
Time off work and lost earnings
Simon was placed on the waiting list for surgery which took place almost six months after his fall. Although the fracture healed well Simon was still left with restricted movement and was advised that in the future he may require further surgery to remove the scaphoid bone. If the nurse who saw him initially at the urgent care centre had sent him for X-rays this would have been avoided and Simon would have been treated with a far less invasive plaster cast. He would also not have had to have time off work to undergo the surgery and subsequent follow-up appointments and would not have lost money as a result.
After being put in touch with the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence Simon’s case was taken on by specialist solicitor Katie Nolan and he was later awarded £32,000 in compensation for his pain, suffering and financial loss.
Case study: missed scaphoid fracture leads to permanent difficulties -£23,250
Peter, 24, tripped while playing football and fell onto his outstretched left hand. As the pain in the wrist did not subside over the next few hours he decided to go to A&E. Scaphoid (a small bone in hand) fracture is common in this kind of injury and scaphoid view X-rays were taken. No fracture was seen (and later reported) and it was noted that he had no pain over the scaphoid bone. A soft tissue injury was therefore diagnosed.
The wrist continued to be painful and Peter revisited A&E about three months later when a slow healing sprain was diagnosed. He had a splint fitted to the wrist to reduce movement.
Scaphoid fracture found six months after the injury
Peter continued to be concerned about his wrist so he attended a walk-in centre five months after the initial injury. The doctor noted that he was tender over the scaphoid bone and the repeat X-rays showed a non-healed fracture of the scaphoid bone. He was told that he would need internal fixation and bone grafting and reconstructive surgery, which he underwent six months later, exactly a year after the injury.
Post-operatively Peter’s recovery was complicated by a wound infection and he required a further operation for exploration, washout and removal of the screw.
He has been left with permanently reduced movement and strength in his left wrist as well as pain, which significantly disables him at times. Fortunately he is right handed.
After seeking advice from Hospital Negligence Peter’s case was eventually settled for £23,250.
Case study: delay in diagnosing scaphoid fracture - £17,500
Nineteen-year-old Ryan was awarded £17,500 in compensation after his delay in diagnosis of scaphoid fracture case was taken on by Hospital Negligence. This case study has the details.
Failure to x-ray the scaphoid bone
When Ryan injured his wrist one day in a football accident and was still in significant pain later that night his worried mother took him to the A&E department of their local hospital. After arriving at 11.55am they were seen by an emergency nurse practioner who examined Ryan’s wrist. The nurse noted that there was no wound, deformity or bruising although it was very tender.
X-Rays were taken which did not reveal any fractures however an X-Ray of the scaphoid bone was not done. Ryan was discharged without the wrist being strapped and without any follow-up appointment being arranged.
Ryan suffered on-going pain with his wrist and several months after his accident attended his GP who recommended a course of physiotherapy. However almost a year later, when Ryan was playing in a rugby match he experienced severe pain in the wrist and yet again felt cause to seek medical assistance about it.
Confirmation of missed scaphoid fracture
This time he was seen by a doctor at a treatment centre who on examination found that his scaphoid bone was tender and felt abnormal. The doctor correctly recognised that Ryan had fractured his scaphoid bone and suspected that this was not a new injury but rather one that had been sustained some time ago. The doctor arranged for X-Rays to be taken which confirmed the diagnosis and that the injury had been sustained in the football injury.
As a result of the delay in diagnosis the fracture had gone untreated for more than a year and by this point was difficult to treat. However with surgery, which included a bone graft, as well as treatment with a cast, eventually the scaphoid fracture was encouraged to unite.
If Ryan’s scaphoid fracture had been correctly diagnosed (as it ought to have been) when he first attended hospital after the football accident, he would have been treated in a cast for a few weeks. However due to the delay he endured on-going pain and for 17 months struggled with his usual activities. He also had to have an avoidable operation and his job was also affected.
After Ryan’s family contacted the specialist team at Hospital Negligence for advice his case was taken on by Hospital Negligence, and we were successful in securing him £17,500 in compensation for his ordeal.
Case study: failure to X-Ray results in missed Scaphoid fracture - £13,000
Jim, 25, London
Jim, 25, injured his wrist while playing football. After three weeks he still had pain and a significantly reduced range of movements in the wrist so he decided to seek medical advice.
Sent home form A&R
After attending A&E, Jim was examined by a doctor who thought he was simply recovering slowly from a ligament injury and did not advise an X-ray or any further treatment. He told him to consult his GP if he was no better in six weeks.
Diagnosis of a scaphoid fracture six months later, leaading to an operation
Six months later Jim consulted his GP as he was still having problems with his wrist. Certain movements, such as twisting, were very difficult. He was referred to a specialist who, after taking an X-ray, diagnosed an un-united fracture of the scaphoid bone.
Some weeks later Jim underwent an open reduction and bone graft of the scaphoid, which generally was successful although he continues to have a weakness in the wrist and an increased risk of arthritis as he gets older.
The trust admitted that a failure to X-ray Jim’s wrist following an injury with persisting symptoms at three weeks was a breach of duty. However, they claimed that if Jim had followed advice from the hospital to consult his GP after six weeks the fracture would, in all likelihood, have been diagnosed and treated sooner and the long-term symptoms of pain and weakness would have been avoided.
On these grounds the trust offered a settlement of 50 per cent of the full value of the claim but this was rejected as the window of opportunity for treating a scaphoid fracture is only four weeks. If Jim had attended his GP after six weeks, as advised, he would almost certainly have required surgery to unite the fracture.
The case was settled by one of our expert solicitors for £13,000.
What Is a Scaphoid Fracture?
Located in the thumb side of the wrist, the scaphoid is a small carpal bone that assists with wrist movement. A fracture of this bone is usually caused when a person falls on their outstretched hand, with their weight landing on the palm, forcing the hand backwards. As such, this type of incident is also commonly referred to as a Fall On an Out Stretched Hand (FOOSH).
Suffering a scaphoid fracture can result in:
- Pain and tenderness in the space between the wrist and the base of the thumb
- Swelling in this area
- Pain when moving the thumb
- Pain when moving the wrist
- Pain when trying to grip something
These symptoms, however, can often be mistaken for a sprain, although the reality is that a sprained wrist is very rare, and so persistent pain means the patient should see their doctor to assess the damage done.
Failure to Diagnose a Scaphoid Fracture
Most scaphoid fractures are successfully diagnosed. However, mistakes by doctors can and do happen, and a missed diagnosis can have serious consequences for the patient. Failure to immobilise the wrist in a plaster case within 28 days can result in the fracture failing to heal and resulting in the need for surgery. In such cases, surgery does not always succeed and patients can be left with long term disability.
Clinical negligence leading to a diagnosis can result in:
- Poor mobility in the wrist
- Stiffness in the wrist
- Pain in the wrist
- Arthritis in the wrist
- Avascular necrosis where the blood supply to the bone fails
Such injuries can have a marked impact on a person's ability to carry out everyday tasks, making life difficult both in the home and in the workplace. Indeed, they could severely affect a career, especially if the person heavily relies on using their arms and hands as part of their role for example using a keyboard.
Making a Claim for Compensation
When making a claim for medical negligence, information is key. People should be armed with all of the information they need in order to pursue a successful case and this is why our experts are on hand to answer any questions you have.
Negligence and injury
Compensation is awarded when an injury has been caused as a result of medical negligence, and this amount is dependent on the impact this negligent act and injury has had on the patient's life. With a fracture this impact can vary, so the sum will be judged on the individual set of circumstances. It is important to remember that no fixed amounts are awarded in medical negligence cases, so the final figure can vary.
The amount of compensation is calculated on numerous factors, including loss of earnings, loss of amenity - such as no longer being able to take part in hobbies - and the pain and suffering endured. If someone has died following a negligent act, it may be possible for family members to claim funeral expenses and bereavement damages.
There are some instances in which people may not receive as much compensation as they would have in different circumstances. For instance, if a patient suffers a delay in diagnosis of a fracture but goes on to make a good recovery, they would not receive as much compensation as a patient whose life had been seriously affected and was left severely disabled.
How We Can Help
At Hospital Negligence, we have an experienced and professional team with the expertise and know-how to manage your scaphoid fracture claim from beginning to end, providing the advice and guidance you need every step of the way.
We have dealt with countless scaphoid fracture cases in the past and fully understand how serious and frustrating such injuries can be. We therefore take a sympathetic yet tenacious approach to every case we take on.
Talk to Us
To discuss your situation with a member of our specialist team and to see whether you may be able to claim compensation, get in touch today. Do so by either calling us on 0800 014 7481 or by completing our online enquiry form, enabling us to give you a call back.