A former county rugby player, who hoped to turn professional, has won compensation after he was forced to give up the sport he loved because a hospital failed to diagnose his wrist injury correctly.
The man, now 23, suffered the injury during a rugby match when he was 16 years old. Doctors at the hospital in North Devon where he was treated simply told him to rest his wrist for ten days, after which he continued to use it. Five months later, however, a break in the wrist was spotted by his GP.
It emerged that the hospital had failed to spot that the man had a fracture of the scaphoid, a small bone in the wrist. This type of injury is difficult to detect but, because of this, the hospital should have offered him a follow up X-ray a week to ten days after the accident. This would normally have revealed the injury.
Instead, the man later had to have three operations and a bone graft to help repair the fracture. As a result, he lost the opportunity to pursue a career as a professional rugby player and he still suffers significant pain in his wrist.
The man brought a claim for compensation. Two weeks before the case was due to come to court, the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust admitted that the hospital should have called him back for an X-ray and agreed to pay £80,000 in compensation.