We settled a claim against Whittington Hospital NHS Trust for an alleged negligent failure to diagnose an undisplaced fracture of the radius. Our client injured his right arm after falling onto his outstretched hand and attended A&E at Whittington Hospital. The A&E clinician treating him requested an X-ray of the right arm and the claimant was subsequently diagnosed with a right forearm sprain. He was discharged without any follow up. His arm did not improve and he subsequently re-attended A&E several weeks later with ongoing pain and restricted movement. Upon further examination and another X-ray, the presence of a displaced radial fracture was noted and he required major surgery to re position and stabilise the fracture.
The client’s case was that the fracture should have been picked up during the first visit to hospital and the hospital’s failure to do so was negligent. Having obtained the claimant's medical records, it was clear that the formal x-ray report noted an undisplaced radial fracture. However, no attempts were made by the A&E department to contact the claimant once the radiology report was available. It was his case that, had the fracture been identified initially, the arm would have been immobilised immediately. This would have avoided the period of significant pain and discomfort and the later need for surgery because of displacement of the fracture. Liability was admitted shortly after the letter of claim was submitted.