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We were instructed to consider the case of a student who suffered a fracture to his right non-dominant hand following a fall.

Following attendance at Queen’s medical centre, Mr S was admitted to hospital and underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of the right metacarpal shaft.

Mr S was discharged and subsequently attended physiotherapy, following which an test was recommended to test the nerve function to the hand. The surgeon confirmed the physiotherapist’s suspicions that Mr S had suffered a complete severing of the ulnar nerve at the level of his palm, which had occurred as a result of the operation.

Following a further operation using a graft from his left leg, he developed an infection of the donor site and was referred for pain management. He had to have three further operations in an effort to improve the function and appearance of his hand and to lessen the chronic pain.

He was a student at Nottingham Trent University at the time of the accident and was hoping to become a physiotherapist. He was unable to complete the physical part of the training for the physiotherapy Masters because of the limitations with his hand so changed to Health Science.

The medical claim was difficult to value due to the uncertainties of Mr S’s prognosis, and the uncertainty regarding his future employment.

Court proceedings were served and the defendant admitted liability 3 months later. The medical claim was settled for £125,000 in compensation.