Unnecessary pain caused by doctors’ failure to diagnose a fractured ankle

  • July 20, 2018
  • An accident at work left Jack with a fractured ankle which wasn’t diagnosed by doctors for more than three months – he later had to have two operations to correct the problems the late diagnosis caused.

    He approached orthopaedic negligence claims specialist Fahmidah Ali for help.

    Have you suffered as a result of orthopaedic negligence? We can help you.

    Understanding Jack’s Orthopaedic Negligence Claim

    Jack slipped and fell in mid-January and went to the accident & emergency department he was complaining of bruising, swelling and pain in his right foot. No X-ray was carried out. He was diagnosed as having a soft tissue injury, which would be improved by resting, elevating his foot and taking ibuprofen. He was advised to see a GP if his symptoms didn’t improve in two or three days. Jack was assessed incorrectly as not needing an X-ray. The doctor failed to recognise that the bruising indicated the injury was higher up his leg and not confined to the ankle joint. Jack had a fracture 10cm above his ankle.

    Jack’s symptoms became worse. His foot had swollen to the point he was unable to wear his right shoe. He attended a walk-in centre and they relied upon the A&E’s diagnosis of a doft-tissue injury. The walk-in centre advised Jack to place a bandage around the ankle and to continue to keep his foot elevated to reduce swelling. Jack remained in pain and so later attended his GP but was again given the same advice. He was struggling to place any weight on his right ankle and was in a lot of pain when walking and going up and down stairs. At that point Jack was under the impression he had sprained his ankle and that his condition would improve with time. Jack’s ankle started to look deformed as the ankle bone was misshaped and pushed out.

    Finally, Jack was correctly diagnosed at another hospital, where his fracture was identified.

    He was referred to a specialist, who told him that the fracture was healing but was healing incorrectly. Jack was advised the way the bone had healed, it had caused severe damage to the ankle bones. Jack was informed that he would need to undergo a complex operation but the specialist was concerned that the outcome of the operation may not be good, and the damage had already been done. Jack was advised that the fracture should have been picked up earlier and with early treatment he would have made a complete recovery. Jack chose to have the operation, the purpose of which was to improve the ankle deformity. Jack’s ankle was pinned back into the correct position.

    Unfortunately, Jack developed an infection around the pins which was treated with antibiotics. One of the pin sites required draining as it became red, inflamed and sore. Jack had to have another operation to drill out and debide the infected pin sites. Jack had to stay at the hospital for another week and had to have further antibiotics.

    Jack is now left with early osteoarthritis in his right ankle and may well need further physiotherapy. He is at risk of developing arthritis in the future and faces a higher risk of needing fusion surgery of his ankle.

    Medical Negligence Specialist, Fahmidah Ali Explains:

    “I’m delighted that I was able to help Jack to win justice after such a straightforward diagnosis was missed – he suffered not only the pain before the correct diagnosis and the aftereffects of two operations, but also loss of earnings and the worry of how the injury will affect the rest of his life.

    When jack approached MAG, right at the outset, we identified there had been a delay in the diagnosis of the fracture. We then focussed on instructing good and reputable medical experts to prove the delayed diagnosis was negligent. Once the evidence was received, a clear link between the injury and the negligence was established.

    In the first instance, the defendant did not accept an X-ray should have been taken but I was not deterred by their response. I managed to change the defendant’s mind and they accepted there had been an error and an X-ray should have been taken but they denied the delay had caused the injury and argued the injuries were caused by the original fall.

    I had anticipated these arguments and our evidence remained strong. Our medical evidence clearly distinguished between the injuries that were caused by the original fall and the more invasive operations Jack was having to undergo as a direct result of the delay in the diagnosis of the fracture.

    My focus was to ensure that Jack is not only compensated for the pain and suffering and financial loss he had already experienced but to also compensate him for the future losses. I was delighted to secure a settlement which Jack felt will help him to get his life back on track.

    If you have suffered an Orthopaedic injury, it may be helpful to note down how the injury happened and the symptoms that you experienced. Be mindful of any swelling and bruising, and the location of these as this was a key factor in this case. If the symptoms are visible, it may be an idea to take some photographs. Even if you do not have all of the information, like in this case, you can always contact one of our team members and they will be happy to talk discuss the possibility of bringing a claim.”

    Jack Explains His Experience Of Working With Medical Accident Group:

    Jack had already taken a year off work whilst he was waiting to have the operation and to allow his ankle to heal afterwards. He had suffered a significant amount of loss of earnings. This had affected his personal relationships as he did not have the money to socialise. He was off work for a year ad he had started to spend a lot of time indoors which was impacting his overall wellbeing.
    Jack is a young man and is doing his dream job which requires him to stand on his feet for long periods of time. Jack now faces the possibility of not being able to continue with his job for as long as he had hoped.
    The compensation has helped him to return to his social activities. Jack understands the possible problems he may face in the future because of the injury and the treatment he may need at some point in the future. The knowledge Jack has acquired during the process of the case will allow him to plan ahead and to reduce the stress associated with the unknown. Jack has been compensated for the cost of the future treatment and any loss of earnings he may face if he has to change careers. Jack is now able to move on and continue with his life without the constantly worrying about the injury.

    “I was limping and in pain. I used walls, chairs and bannisters to support me. I missed not being able to work and seeing my friends.

    “Fahmidah’s support and advice won me £70,500 in compensation which has not only helped me make a gradual return to work, but has paid for a significant amount of the medical care I now need.”

    If you have suffered from medical negligence as a result of orthopaedic negligence our experts can help you with your claim – call us on 0800 050 1668 or start your claim online now.

    More Information About Orthopaedic Negligence Claims

    Medical Accident Group is recognised for providing specialist legal expertise in all areas of orthopaedic negligence claims.

    Read more about our orthopaedic error claims expertise.






    With bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments being the most commonly injured parts of the body, orthopaedic negligence claims – relating to incorrectly performed procedures, surgery, infections and damaged nerves – are the most common cases seen by our lawyers – call us on 0800 050 1668 or start your claim online now.


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