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Settlement secured after fractured ankle misdiagnosed

Misdiagnosis in A&E at St Peter's Hospital

Ankle joint

3 March 2016

Mr Harris had a fall in his garden and hurt his ankle.  He rang “999” and an ambulance took him to the A&E Department at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey.  At this time he was not able to weight bear.  He was not in much pain when his ankle was static but if he tried to move it, the pain was severe.

Mr Harris had two x-rays taken showing side and front views of his ankle.  After the x-rays, Mr Harris met with a junior doctor who reviewed his case with a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.

The Consultant subsequently confirmed that, due to human error, Mr Harris’s diagnosis was wrongly recorded as “?old fracture” and that he was discharged without the appropriate treatment.  

The error was picked up a week later by another Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who confirmed that there was an obvious facture dislocation of the right ankle.  Surgery was planned for the same day but could not go ahead for another four days due to the degree of swelling.  

Mr Harris approached specialist medical negligence solicitor, Anna Brothers, for help with his case.

Shortly afterwards, the Trust admitted responsibility for the incorrect diagnosis, accepting that a fracture-dislocation is a potentially limb-threatening condition which warrants prompt recognition and stabilisation in A&E. They also accepted that in Mr Harris’ case once x-rays had been reviewed the reasonable diagnosis would have been that he had sustained a new fracture, not an old one, which required treatment and he should have been referred to orthopaedics for urgent treatment.

As well as the admission of liability, Anna secured an apology, and a sum by way of compensation for Mr Harris.

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