We have been acting for a client (now aged 62) who was unhappy with treatment which she received at the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) run by Greenbrook Healthcare at the Princess Royal Hospital (the Hospital) in Farnborough, Kent arising from treatment she received during July 2017.
Events giving rise to the claim
Briefly, at the beginning of July 2017, our client injured her right knee in an accident at home. She was generally in good health but suffered from post-polio paralysis affecting her right lower limb.
She attended the UCC at the Hospital when her knee was x-rayed. She was seen by an Emergency Nurse Practitioner(ENP). No fracture was detected and she was advised that she had sustained a soft tissue injury to her knee. She was discharged home to use crutches to assist her with mobility.
Contrary to the ENP’s diagnosis of a soft tissue injury, the x-ray images revealed an undisplaced fracture of the medial condyle of the distal femoral.
Before her discharge, our client was given an outpatient appointment to attend the fracture clinic in two weeks’ time but it was our case she was told by the ENP that this appointment was simply to help use her crutches. As she felt safe using the crutches, she later cancelled the appointment.
Due to ongoing pain in her right knee, she arranged an appointment with her GP during mid-August as she was still unable to walk. He referred her back to hospital.
At the end of September 2017, she saw an Orthopaedic Surgeon and he arranged a CT scan on her knee. In mid-October 2017, he confirmed the fracture and she was referred to Kings College Hospital where she underwent internal fixation surgery in December 2017.
In June 2019, our client underwent a further surgical procedure for the removal of the metalwork from her knee. Following this procedure she has made a good recovery from her injury.
A Letter of Claim was sent on behalf of our client to Greenbrook Healthcare. They acknowledged that her fracture had not been diagnosed on her attendance at the UCC in July 2017. They also acknowledged that the fracture had not been detected as part of their x-ray checking process so there was a delay in this injury being diagnosed.
It was the Hospital’s case however:-
- Our client should have kept her appointment at the Fracture Clinic, when it is likely that that this fracture would have been diagnosed and treated and/or
- Notwithstanding the delay in diagnosis, she would still have undergone surgical fixation (with the later removal of the metalwork) so she would have been left with similar residual symptoms in any event.
We disagreed. If the fracture had been diagnosed in July 2017, it was our case:-
- The treatment options available to our client would have included conservative treatment (placing her knee in a brace) and only if this had been unsuccessful, would she have undergone fixation surgery although this would have been a much simpler and less invasive procedure to the one that she underwent in December 2017;
- A second surgical procedure to remove the metalwork would not have been required.
Although the Hospital apologised for the late diagnosis, no offer of compensation was forthcoming. They invited our client to drop her case.
On our advice, she continued with her claim and we issued proceedings. Various offers were then made between the parties and we were eventually able to reach a settlement.
S J Edney Solicitors obtained compensation of £10,125.00 for this client during 2020