May 2, 2012

Small fracture, serious consequences

S was playing football in the school playground when he injured his big toe. His parents took him to hospital, where the doctors reassured them that their son’s injury was minor and promptly discharged him. However, his condition soon took a turn for the worse.

Very concerned, his parents took him back to hospital on several occasions, but no explanation for his system was found for a while. Eventually, it became clear that the reason was the original toe fracture: the hospital staff failed to realise that he was suffering from osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone.

Eventually, when the correct diagnosis was finally made, S required four operations because of the extent of the infection. He was ultimately left with some permanent damage to his toe. Simon Elliman took on S’s case and obtained strong expert medical evidence, which was highly critical of the way that S had been treated by the hospital.

The claim was resisted by the hospital Trust, but ultimately an out-of-court settlement in the sum of £22,500 was agreed. As S was a child, this award had to be approved by the court, and the money paid into court for his use when he reached the age of 18.

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