Geldards secures £269,000 damages for failure to diagnose ankle displacement and Charcot arthropathy

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This week, Lindy Harris in Geldards’ clinical negligence team has secured damages of £269,000 plus costs for a client after his local hospital’s delayed diagnosis and management of an ankle fracture and Charcot arthropathy.

Charcot foot or Charcot arthropathy is a serious condition in which the bones of the foot or ankle degenerate and become deformed. It is most common in people with diabetes who have reduced sensation in their feet due to diabetic neuropathy.

Our client, a known diabetic, fell from a height at home and suffered an undisplaced left heel fracture. Our client was 55 at the time of his accident and on presentation to hospital was given crutches, advised not to weight bear and sent home. Our client was seen for several follow-up appointments where opportunities were missed to diagnose his Charcot arthropathy and displacement of his left heel fracture first started to appear on x-ray. He was subsequently discharged after only 2 months, advised he could fully weight bear and returned to work. Had our client’s symptoms been recognised and a different management plan instigated at the time of discharge (such as placing his foot in a cast or boot with non-weight bearing), he would have had a far better outcome.

We sought expert medical evidence on behalf of the client which confirmed that the hospital had failed to consider radiological evidence of the displacement which resulted in delayed identification and management of the displaced foot fracture. This in turn led to the client developing Charcot arthropathy, ulceration and infection of the left big toe, osteomyelitis of the left foot, permanently compromised mobility, back pain and unnecessary pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

As a result of the mismanagement our client continues to suffer a very significant abnormality of his left foot which causes him pain and restricts his mobility. He is unable to wear normal footwear and his left heel continues to be at a high risk of ulceration which requires orthotics.

The hospital admitted breach of duty but denied that the delayed identification and management of the displaced fracture had caused our client to suffer any additional injury or loss. Proceedings were issued but the claim was disputed to within 6 weeks of trial. There were a large number of issues in dispute between the foot and ankle surgeons as to causation, condition and prognosis and between the care and rehabilitation experts.

We formulated a claim for our client’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity, losses and expenses to the date of trial and his future needs which included care and assistance, travel and transport costs, future treatment, surgery and therapy and aids and equipment.

We arranged a virtual settlement meeting which took place last week and the parties settled damages at £269,000. Our client was extremely pleased with the outcome, thanking Lindy and her team for all their hard work in achieving such a good settlement. Due to the damages he received, he can now buy an automatic car to provide him with the freedom to travel he has missed and adapt his house to lead a better of quality of life.

If you have any questions about the above case study or would like to speak with a clinical negligence specialist solicitor, call us for a free consultation on 02920 391773 or contact Linda Williams by email.




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Lindy Harris


Legal Executive, Cardiff

+44(0)292 039 1824


Spencer Collier


Partner, Cardiff

+44(0)29 2039 1704