Old Age Is No Reason For Substandard Treatment

Pamela was in her seventies when she fell at home and fractured her wrist. She had a cast fitted and was reviewed 6 weeks later when the cast was removed. Her wrist was bent and had healed at 25 degrees. The doctor told her he did not need to re-break it but would refer her for physiotherapy. She felt that the reason the doctor was not doing more was because of her age and that he ignored her request to do whatever was needed to allow her to keep optimum function in the wrist.

She decided to have surgery privately as she leads a very active life and needs good use of her wrist. This cost her over £4,000 and did improve wrist function. However, there is still pain and weakness in the wrist and slight numbness around the thumb.

After court proceedings had been started, solicitors for the hospital accepted that before the wrist was put in a plaster cast, Pamela should have been offered manipulation to reduce the degree of angulation. They also admitted that if her wrist had been manipulated, it would probably have avoided the surgery. It was agreed between the parties that although 50% of her remaining symptoms were due to the corrective surgery, which would not have been necessary if she had been treated properly, the remaining 50% were as a result of the original fracture. As these symptoms would have occurred even with proper treatment, she could not recover compensation for these. Pamela was offered £14,000 which included the cost of the surgery, which she accepted.