Scaphoid Fracture Claims

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Scaphoid Fracture Claims

If your scaphoid fracture has been misdiagnosed or negligently treated, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

What is a Scaphoid Fracture?

The scaphoid bone is a small, but vital, bone in the wrist, close to the thumb. It is important for wrist function and movement. If an injury causes a break of the scaphoid bone (a scaphoid fracture), it can lead to significant and permanent damage, especially if the fracture is not diagnosed or treated in a timely manner. An x-ray and thorough clinical examination of the wrist are essential in diagnosing a scaphoid fracture.

A scaphoid fracture can happen when a patient has suffered a fall onto an outstretched hand. It can also occur when there has been some form of impact to the wrist, for example, when playing sports.

Often, when a scaphoid fracture has occurred, patients initially think that they have merely sprained their wrist.

How is a scaphoid fracture diagnosed and treated?

Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture include:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness

Scaphoid fractures can be difficult to diagnose initially. A full history should be taken, to include details such as a description of your symptoms, how the injury occurred, and any relevant past medical history. An examination should also be performed of the wrist, to include a look at the ‘anatomical snuffbox’. This is the indentation that appears to the outside of the hand (between the wrist and the thumb) when the thumb is outstretched.

X-rays can help diagnose the fracture however often the scaphoid fracture is not visible on the first x-rays taken, and only becomes visible on follow-up X-rays taken 2 weeks later.

This means that if a fracture a scaphoid is suspected (even if not visible on the first X-rays taken), then a follow-up appointment should be carried out in the next 2-3 weeks, with a further x-ray. In the interim, as a precautionary measure, the wrist should be placed in a plaster or a splint, so that if it turns out that there is a fracture, the chances of the scaphoid bone healing is maximised.

Once diagnosed, typical initial treatment for a scaphoid fracture involves putting the wrist in a plaster or a splint for 6-8 weeks. Regular reviews are then undertaken to check if the fracture is healing satisfactorily.

Should the scaphoid bone not heal with treatment in a plaster or splint, then surgical treatment may be necessary to help the scaphoid bone to heal.

What if a scaphoid fracture is misdiagnosed?

The earlier a scaphoid fracture is treated, the greater the chance of it healing without needing surgery.

A delay in diagnosis can mean that recovery may be prolonged, which is likely to result in greater pain over a longer period of time, than would have been experienced with earlier diagnosis and treatment.

In addition, the longer a scaphoid fracture is left undiagnosed and without appropriate treatment, the more likely greater damage and injury will occur. This can lead to more complicated surgery being required and can even lead to permanent damage.

Furthermore, scaphoid fractures can result in more severe conditions including avascular necrosis (where there is very little, or even no, blood supply to the bone) and arthritis. There can be a greater risk of developing such conditions when there has been a delay in diagnosis.

Can you make a compensation claim?

If you think you have suffered due to a misdiagnosed or negligently treated scaphoid fracture, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Please contact us for advice if you feel you may have a scaphoid fracture compensation claim, or have suffered any form of clinical negligence.

It is important to contact us as soon as possible. This is because there are strict time limits in place for making a claim for compensation. Once contacted, our solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case. We even have an in-house dual-qualified doctor/solicitor who can assist in assessing whether or not you may have suffered from clinical negligence.

Why choose us?

You can direct dial our Clinical Negligence Department on 01244 354688 or fill in our contact us form.

Case studies

Every year, we help lots of clients win the compensation they deserve. Please see the case studies below for examples of how we have helped clients claim compensation for missed or delayed diagnosis of scaphoid fractures in the past. Please be aware that the compensation amounts depend on the client’s individual situation and experiences. To see how much your claim could be worth please contact us directly.

Case Study 1: £75,000 in Compensation

  • Our client injured his right wrist playing football. Following an x-ray, he was advised he had sustained ligament damage and should wear a splint for around 10 days and take pain relief.
  • After continuing to suffer from pain and stiffness in the wrist for around 9 months, he was referred for a further x-ray which he was told showed an old scaphoid fracture, which was now healing.
  • Over the following months, our client continued to suffer from pain and stiffness and was unable to carry out his job as normal.
How we helped:
  • Our client brought a claim for the failure to initially diagnose his scaphoid fracture.
  • Given our client’s ongoing symptoms, we arranged for him to have a private CT scan which showed that the scaphoid fracture had not healed. The damage was so severe that he required an operation that included a bone graft and the insertion of a metal screw to fix the bone into place.
  • Although the operation was successful and much improved our client’s situation, given the delay in diagnosis, he still suffered from pain and stiffness in his wrist which restricted his ability to work at full capacity, to undertake DIY tasks, and to enjoy his hobbies.
  • The defendant admitted some fault but would not accept that all our client’s symptoms were as a result of their negligence. However, our client’s claim settled in his favour and he received £75,000 in compensation.

Case Study 2: £28,000 in Compensation

  • Our client sustained an injury to his right wrist whilst playing football. Following examination and an x-ray, a wrist sprain was diagnosed and he was given a splint to wear and advised to take pain relief.
  • After continuing to suffer from symptoms of pain, stiffness and tenderness in his wrist, the following year a further examination was undertaken. Again, a diagnosis of a wrist sprain was made and he was advised to wear a splint.
  • Our client’s symptoms continued and the following year, following further x-rays of his wrist, an old, ununited fracture of the right scaphoid was diagnosed, requiring an operation including screw fixation and a bone graft. The fracture was then extremely slow to heal.
  • Our client continued to suffer with pain, reduced mobility and reduced power in his wrist resulting in him being unable to pursue his chosen career in the army.
How we helped:
  • Our client brought a claim for the failure to initially diagnose his scaphoid fracture.
  • With earlier diagnosis, our client would have avoided the prolonged pain, suffering and loss of amenity as well as the need for surgery.
  • Liability was not admitted in full by the defendant and so we proceeded to issue court proceedings against the defendant and remained strong in our views, which were supported by expert evidence.
  • Following considerable settlement negotiations, our client recovered £28,000 in compensation.

Case study 3: £18,000 in compensation

  • Our client suffered a fall at work, landing heavily onto both wrists. Following an x-ray of the left wrist only, despite recording that both wrists were painful, a left wrist sprain was diagnosed.
  • The x-ray was formally reported the following day and confirmed a fracture of the left scaphoid. Despite this, the hospital did not recall our client.
  • After continuing to suffer with pain and restricted movement, around one month later our client re-attended the hospital. The radiology report confirming the fractured left scaphoid was then discovered. After an x-ray of his right wrist, a fractured right scaphoid was also diagnosed. After a few weeks with both his wrists in plaster, he was informed that he needed to undergo surgery to the left scaphoid.
  • Our client’s right scaphoid healed well, but he was left with some symptoms in his left wrist such as pain on heavy lifting and in cold weather.
How we helped:
  • Our client brought a claim for the failure to initially diagnose his right scaphoid fracture and for failing to initially inform him of, and treat, his left scaphoid fracture.
  • Liability was admitted, in that with earlier diagnosis, both scaphoid fractures could have been treated with plaster, thereby avoiding the need for surgery, and our client recovered £18,000 in compensation.

How can we help you?

Our team is headed by a dual-qualified doctor and solicitor, so we benefit from in-house medical knowledge. Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to help. We can quickly and efficiently assess any areas of potential negligence for a wide range of claims.

We have a wide range of experience in dealing with scaphoid fracture compensation claims (please see case studies above).

We have also developed brilliant working relationships with many orthopaedic experts who we know to be approachable and reliable in assisting us with scaphoid fracture compensation claims which allows us to ensure we get great expert advice for our clients.

Want to have a free and confidential chat in relation to a potential scaphoid fracture claim? Give our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors a call on 01244 354688.

For free advice from our Medical Negligence solicitors, please call us direct on 01244 354688

Linda Schermer-Jones

Head of the Clinical Negligence Department, Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Kerry Goulden

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Liz Fry

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Emma Woodrow

Clinical Negligence Legal Adviser