Substandard delay in follow-up consultations following foot surgery.
Our client underwent routine bunion surgery but presented at 6-week follow-up with a painful lump on the medial side of her great toe. This was subsequently determined to be a protrusion of the screw fixation which was a non-negligent complication of the surgery. The lump had become painful to walk upon. The Claimant was advised that this was likely to be “gristle” which was not unusual and would resolve with some gentle daily massage and moisturising of the area. The Claimant was immediately discharged from orthopaedic care with no plans for a further follow-up.
The Claimant followed the advice, but the lump remained painful on walking and to touch. She found herself forced to wear open toe sandals to avoid the inside of a shoe rubbing the lump.
After a few weeks, the top of the lump had started to blister, and The Claimant attended her GP who prescribed antibiotics.
The lump continued to be painful, and the blister turned into an open wound.
An urgent letter of referral was sent to the orthopaedic department but no response was received despite calls from the patient.
The wound on the top of the lump became infected and pus-filled and she attended her GP who took photographs and despatched a further urgent referral to the orthopaedic department who then took almost two months to see the patient.
A protruding screw was diagnosed and was surgically removed two weeks later.
It was alleged that:
- the decision to discharge the patient from orthopaedic care without any follow up when she was clearly still experiencing complications affecting her mobility;
- the failure to deal with the first urgent referral; and
- the delay in seeing the patient following the second urgent referral, were all instances of care falling below that of the reasonably competent orthopaedic department.
Liability was squarely denied in the pre-action period.
Proceedings were then issued and served, only for the defence to admit liability for 2nd and 3rd allegations. There remained some contention over the first allegation, but settlement was discussed and agreed.
Although our client suitably recovered from her remedial surgery, she had suffered several months of delay in receiving it, during which time she endured suffering considered akin to a severe pressure sore – the wound was constantly painful; there was a daily need to cleans and dress the wound; she was forced to wear open-toed sandals only; her mobility was limited; and her ability to perform usual daily activities were curtailed.
It is also noteworthy that the Defendants had a clear opportunity to make their admissions before there was any need to incur the relatively high cost of court proceedings.
Claim compensation for serious delays in follow-up treatment following orthopaedic surgery
Whether it was serious delays in post-operative care following bunion surgery, mistakes and delays in orthopaedic treatment could have serious consequences on a patient’s mobility and quality of life. Contact our experts today for advice on how to make an orthopaedic negligence claim and the potential compensation you could receive.
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