Jessica from Belfast was running across a road to get a taxi when she tripped and landed on her right shoulder. She was in immediate pain and felt that she had damaged her shoulder. She went to the A&E Department of Belfast City Hospital immediately. Jessica was examined and an x-ray was ordered, after which she was advised that she had some muscle damage and internal bruising. No arrangements were made for Jessica to be reviewed.
Jessica Experienced Ongoing Pain
Jessica was experiencing ongoing pain and decided to visit her GP who referred her for physiotherapy. After attending a number of sessions, Jessica expressed her concerns to the physiotherapist that she was receiving no benefit from the treatment. The physiotherapist looked at the original x-ray and pointed out that there was a difference in symmetry in her shoulders. The physiotherapist suggested that Jessica obtain a further x-ray. She returned to A&E and obtained a further x-ray approximately 6 weeks after her first. A&E advised Jessica that there was a fracture and referred her to the Royal Victoria Hospital Fracture Clinic.
Negligence Claim against Belfast HSC Trust
Jessica approached Patrick O’Hare of this office to seek advice regarding a potential medical negligence claim against Belfast Health & Social Care Trust. A provisional medical report was obtained from an Orthopaedic Surgeon who felt that the fracture should have been detected on initial presentation and certainly should have been picked up by an experienced radiologist upon reviewing the x-rays.
Medical Evidence Obtained
High Court proceedings were initiated and further medical evidence was obtained from an A&E Consultant, his opinion was that Jessica suffered a fracture to her right clavicle in the accident. He advised that there was a failure of the A&E doctor to recognise bony tenderness over the mid-clavicle. Furthermore, a person who has underline clavicle or AC joint injury requires specific x-ray views as opposed to shoulder views, in light of this it was felt that the treatment was substandard.
Medical Negligence Claim Settles
The matter was subsequently listed for trial and further evidence was obtained from a consultant radiologist who advised that the fracture should have been picked up on x-ray. Close to the date of trial, negotiations took place between the parties and the claim ultimately settled in the sum of £17,500.