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Case Study

£550,000 for delayed diagnosis and treatment of Lisfranc injury at Bedford Hospital

Helen Thompson settled a claim on behalf of Mrs G for care she received at Bedford Hospital for a missed Lisfranc injury to her foot.

In April, Mrs G injured her foot while at a music concert. The following morning, she went to A&E at Bedford Hospital where it was noted that her foot was very painful, swollen and she could not weight bear. An X-ray was reported as showing no injury. Mrs G was sent home with painkillers, crutches and was told to try to weight bear on the foot.
 
Over the next couple of weeks, Mrs G's foot did not get better and she developed bruising on the sole (a classic sign of Lisfranc injury) and upper mid-foot. She went back to A&E and another X-ray was again reported as showing no injury and she was sent home.
 
Mrs G's foot remained painful, she had difficulty standing and walking and she was unable to do her job as cabin crew. Following her own research, Mrs G wondered whether she had suffered a Lisfranc injury since her symptoms were consistent with such an injury.
 
In September, Mrs G saw an Orthopaedic Surgeon privately, who immediately diagnosed the Lisfranc injury and noted it had been missed on the X-rays taken at Bedford Hospital in April.
 
In November, Mrs G underwent a salvage fusion to treat the Lisfranc injury after which she wore a protective boot for eight months. Had the injury been diagnosed in April, she would have had more minor surgery within two weeks and made a full recovery, returning to work within six months.
 
The delay in treatment and the fusion required left Mrs G with ongoing pain and symptoms in her foot that will likely deteriorate in future and may necessitate further fusion surgery. Due to the ongoing symptoms, Mrs G has never been able to return to work as cabin crew for British Airways.
 
The defendant made an early admission that they should have diagnosed and treated the Lisfranc injury within two weeks of the injury and judgment was entered for Mrs G.
 
Throughout the case, however, the defendant strongly denied that Mrs G had suffered a worse outcome because of the delay and the salvage fusion. They also argued that, even with timely treatment, she would never have been able to return to her job. Some issues remained in dispute, including Mrs G's loss of earnings and pension, accommodation costs and the amount of care and assistance she required.
 
Even once expert evidence was exchanged, the defendant continued to contest that Mrs G was in no worse position than she would have been with timely treatment of the Lisfranc injury. One month before trial, the defendant also tried to introduce a new argument that Mrs G's original injury was more severe than a simple Lisfranc injury, despite there being no evidence to support this contention.
 
At a settlement meeting four weeks before trial, Helen negotiated settlement of £550,000 with the Trust. The legal team also included Deborah Nadel and Gabriella Gooday.
 
At the end of her claim, Mrs G said:
 
'No words can express my gratitude towards Helen and the team for their outstanding work on my case.  I had read enough about the complications of a delayed diagnosis of a Lisfranc to understand that my future had been significantly compromised. Not to mention the anguish, pain and plethora of other emotional and physical turmoil me and my family experienced.
 
'I reviewed several solicitors before settling on Fieldfisher and Helen to represent me; and I am glad I did. The attention to detail and thoroughness has been impeccable. I would not wish this experience on anyone, but, if anyone is unfortunate enough to experience what I and my family did, I recommend Helen and the team as an ally.
 
'For us, settlement wasn’t just about the financial aspect, it was about ensuring enough impact that nobody else has to go through what we did. Thank you Helen and the team for all your hard work. My family and I can now move forward.'

For further information about delayed diagnosis claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Helen Thompson on 0330 460 6765 or email helen.thompson@fieldfisher.com.

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