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Woman sues hospital over misdiagnosed fracture

Posted in: Arm Injury Medical Negligence 

A woman is suing Southend Hospital after doctors failed to recognise a serious fracture in her elbow. 60-year-old Shirley Johnstone was rushed to A&E after waking up in extreme pain, and despite taking x-rays, doctors sent her home with pain killers claiming that the injury was only a sprain. Six days later, when doctors reviewed her x-ray, a serious fracture was discovered in her elbow.  

It was heard that in this six-day window, Mrs Johnstone’s fracture displaced by four millimetres. As a result, she required immediate surgery and had to have wires inserted into her arm to hold the bones in place. It is believed that this procedure would not have been necessary had the fracture been discovered earlier. She was required to take four months off work. Mrs Johnstone said: “I was really surprised something as serious as a break could be missed. I’m a chef and it’s important I can use my right arm.

Hospital teaching sessions

Acting chief nurse at Southend University Hospital, Cheryl Schwarz, said that she wrote a formal apology to Mrs Johnstone on behalf of the hospital for failing to “diagnose and treat her fracture” in 2011. She also assured Mrs Johnstone that she would arrange teaching sessions at the hospital to prevent this incident from happening again.

Ms Schwarz added: “Mrs Johnstone’s claim against the trust is on-going and so I am unable provide any further comment on her case.

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