Case studies

Tendon damage leads to extensive surgery and long term pain

Our client, a woman in her 60s, accidentally cut herself preparing food at home. She went to her local hospital, Ellesmere Port Hospital, where she was seen in the dressings clinic and told by the nurse that the injury would heal itself. She went back in five days and the wound was checked and the dressing changed. She was reassured the injury would heal and discharged.

Several weeks later she went to see her GP about an unrelated problem and the GP enquired about the dressing on her hand. The GP reviewed the wound and identified the clear tendon damage which had no prospect of healing without intervention. Our client’s GP referred her for plastic surgery but by then she had already lost considerable function and the opportunity for simple tendon repair. She needed more extensive surgery to improve the deformity to her damaged fingers and their function but, for the surgery to be successful, she needed a better range of movement than she had.

When instructed, we obtained expert nursing evidence that the standard of care both nurses provided in the dressings clinic fell below that which was required and was negligent.

Despite undergoing physiotherapy for over 12 months she was unable to recover sufficient flexion to have the surgery and remains with pain, reduced movement and function in her fingers and hand overall. For a long time, the hospital denied any liability for substandard nursing care but eventually admitted this in its defence.

The claim was settled for £20,500 plus legal costs after our orthopaedic expert discussed the case with the hospital’s expert. We also advised our client on establishing a personal injury trust to protect her entitlement to state benefits given the compensation she received.

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