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Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyers have secured an admission of liability for a young man left unable to run, jump or partake in sport as a result of an undiagnosed talus fracture.

The claimant hurt his right foot in a cycling accident and attended the defendant NHS hospital’s A&E department the same day. He was unable to weight-bear on his foot, which was swollen and painful. An x-ray was taken but no fracture was reported.

The claimant was told he had a soft tissue injury. He was advised to elevate and apply ice to the foot. He was encouraged to walk on the foot as much as possible and was discharged home on crutches.

The claimant tried to follow the medical advice he had been given but continued to experience pain, swelling and stiffness of his foot.

He visited his GP 6 days after his A&E attendance and was told to go back to hospital. He went back to A&E immediately and was noted to have bruising and swelling in the anterior talus and bony tenderness on the anterior ankle.

Further x-rays were taken and again, incorrectly, reported as demonstrating no fracture of the right ankle. A diagnosis of a possible avulsion fracture was made.

Looking back at that x-ray, it actually revealed evidence of fragmentation which indicated a crush injury rather than an avulsion fracture or ‘no fracture’ as reported but, despite the hospital staff’s difficulty with interpreting the x-ray, nobody arranged for a CT scan to be carried out.

The claimant was given a walking boot and crutches and advised about elevating the foot. There was no discussion about treatment options and a referral was made to the fracture clinic for a follow up appointment.

The claimant’s symptoms continued and became worse if he tried to weight-bear.  At his fracture clinic appointment he was told to use the boot for a further three weeks and then start mobilising the foot.

At a further appointment, six weeks later, he was told to resume normal activities with his ankle and was referred for physiotherapy. After five months of physiotherapy with little improvement the claimant was discharged without being seen again by a hospital doctor.

He went back to his GP who referred him to a private consultant orthopaedic surgeon. The surgeon arranged x-rays which revealed a non-united navicular (stress) fracture with subluxation (partial dislocation) of the talonavicular joint.

A CT scan was carried out and revealed the old fracture which, untreated, had begun healing whilst out of alignment. The claimant was advised that surgical reconstruction of the joint would now be difficult owing to the amount of time that had passed since the original injury.

The claimant sought a further opinion from another consultant who was willing to try reconstructive surgery. However, during the operation it became clear that it was not possible to proceed with the reconstruction owing to the risk of further damage.

The claimant has been left with restricted movement, swelling, stiffness and discomfort in his foot. He is unable to run, stand for long periods of time, jump or participate in sport. He has incurred the costs of private medical treatment and ongoing physiotherapy.

The defendant NHS hospital has admitted negligent delays in interpreting the claimant’s x-rays, diagnosing and treating the claimant’s talus fracture. Having secured the defendant’s admission of liability, Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyers can now focus on valuing the full extent of the claim and negotiating settlement.