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22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Lesley Herbertson

Negligent shoulder surgery left young man in his 20s unable to use his arm fully

Mark was 23 when he was involved in a motor cross accident in 2009 suffering an injury to his right arm. He was referred to the orthopaedic team once an initial X-ray was taken of the injured arm.

Mark underwent surgery three times in the month following the accident including; intramedullary nailing of the humeral fracture, exploration of the axillary nerve in the right shoulder and fixation of the fracture to the right humerus.

Mark however suffered damage to the axillary nerve and the radial nerve, damage to the rotator cuff tendon, fracture of his right shoulder and shoulder dislocation resulting in significant pain and loss of movement to his right arm.

We argued that there was a failure to diagnose and treat Mark’s right shoulder injuries and that the subsequent operations carried out were performed to a substandard level.

The damage to Mark’s right arm has left him with on-going significant pain and lack of function in his shoulder and right arm. Expert evidence obtained by Hugh James on Mark’s behalf suggested that in the absence of negligence, Mark would have made an excellent recovery within 6 to 12 weeks of the accident.

Mark now also faces a chance of his right arm requiring amputation at some point in the future and is likely to require further surgical intervention in the form of an arthrodesis by the time he reaches 40.

The Defendant hospital argued that Mark suffered all his injuries at the time of the accident and that restoration of the nerve function was extremely unlikely regardless of any negligence.

The Defendant pushed Mark’s claim nearly all the way to a full trial however, the case was ultimately settled just weeks before trial for £600,000.00 which included a significant amount for future loss of earnings in particular.

Lesley Herbertson acted on Mark’s behalf and said:

Mark was only a young man when he was injured and, as a result of the Defendant’s negligence, he was now been left significantly disabled. It was a pleasure to work with Mark and to support him through this case which was exceedingly difficult especially given the Defendant’s unwillingness to settle earlier. I was really pleased for Mark that we were able to agree the settlement he needs to continue with his recovery and move on with his life.

Author bio

Lesley Herbertson is a Partner at Hugh James and a leading medical negligence solicitor with over 30 years’ experience in dealing with catastrophic and serious injury medical negligence cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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