Delayed Diagnosis of Foot Fracture

27 October 2017

We obtained a six figure sum for a lady who received negligent treatment following a fracture to her left foot. Our client tripped over a vacuum cleaner cord at work and attended her local hospital. She had sustained a Lisfranc fracture, which is an injury to the midfoot. Her foot was swollen and bruised and the hospital missed the fracture, as well as the other abnormalities that were visible on the x-rays. The hospital should have placed our client’s foot in a cast and told her not to weight bear.

An added complication was that our client suffered from diabetes. People with diabetes can suffer from neuropathy (loss of normal nerve function) and peripheral vascular disease (loss of normal circulation). These two conditions can lead to serious foot problems such as: diabetic foot ulcers (wounds that do not heal or become infected); skin infections (such as cellulitis); bone infections (osteomyelitis); pus collections (abscesses); gangrene (dead tissue resulting from complete loss of circulation); and Charcot arthropathy. All of these things can lead to amputation if not treated properly.

In this case, our client was suffering from the onset of Charcot arthropathy, also known as Charcot Foot. It can cause weakening of the bones and with continued walking, the foot can eventually change shape. The key in such cases is early recognition of the injury and protection of the foot.

Unfortunately, our client’s foot went untreated and she suffered ongoing swelling as she tried to keep walking on it. She told her GP, who referred her for physiotherapy. The physiotherapist suspected a serious injury and re-referred our client for urgent orthopaedic treatment. The hospital immediately recognised the Lisfranc injury. However by this point, our client’s foot had already entered into the consolidation phase with new bone formation. A deformity was already established. The hospital also failed to consider that our client had suffered Charcot Foot at any point. A CT scan revealed significant foot fractures and unfortunately, our client was left with a permanent severely deformed, painful and stiff left foot. This impacted on all aspects of her life, including her mobility and ability to work.

The Defendant denied liability throughout the case and we had to issue court proceedings. However, we worked hard to secure our client a significant settlement without the need for her to go to trial.

"I am very pleased with the outcome and the compensation I received. The solicitors were all very friendly and available at any time for any questions I had."

By Natalie Hirst

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