We have had recent success in obtaining a discontinuance, and also partial recovery of costs, acting for an Emergency Care Practitioner in a claim involving a failure to refer a patient suffering from an undiagnosed wrist ligament injury. The Claimant alleged that our client, an Emergency Care Practitioner (a clinician with enhanced skills in medical assessment and extra clinical skills over and above those of a standard paramedic, or qualified nurse) and the Co-defendants, both GPs, negligently failed to examine him adequately and failed to refer him to an orthopaedic surgeon.
Briefly, the Claimant had suffered a workplace injury to his wrist, he attended A&E and underwent an x-ray and examination and no fracture was present. The Claimant was diagnosed with a sprain injury. The Claimant attended our client some 8 weeks post-accident, seeking a physiotherapy referral. The Claimant was subsequently diagnosed with a rupture of the scapholunate ligament.
The claim, like many others, was made on the assumption that a delay in diagnosing an injury must equate to negligent treatment. The Claimant failed to put forward any adequate case on causation and we successfully obtained an Order that if the Claimant did not amend his causation position, the matter would be struck out.
In order to defend this claim, we obtained robust evidence from an expert GP and from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. Our expert GP advised that an Emergency Care Practitioner does not have the ability to refer a patient directly to an Orthopaedic Surgeon, unlike the GP Co-defendants. Further, the symptoms the Claimant was alleging would have been present if the Defendant had carried out an adequate examination, were only relevant to a fracture injury and not the far less specific complaints which are present in a ligament injury. Our expert also advised that a scapholunate ligament could not be detected in a primary care settling by an Emergency Care Practitioner.
In relation to causation, our Orthopaedic expert advised that even if the Claimant had been referred to an orthopaedic surgeon, it is unlikely he would have undergone surgery, due to the known poor outcome of such treatment.
Upon service of our client’s amended Defence, the Claimant was persuaded to discontinue against our client and to contribute to our defence costs.
The Defendant was represented by Lesley Deane from Plexus Law.
To view/download this Article as a PDF please click here.
If you would like to know more about this matter, please speak to your contact at Plexus Law:
Lesley Deane, Solicitor
T: 020 7220 5912 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org