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FDR Law Case Study - Bite Injury

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Brian Owens, a specialist litigation executive with FDR Law, based in Palmyra Square, Warrington discusses how medical negligence resulted in life changing injuries.

A 32 year old male was admitted to Accident & Emergency (A&E) following an attack in which he suffered a human bite injury to his dominant hand.  The wound broke the skin and underlying tissue and this case shows the seriousness of such an injury.

The wound was deep and was correctly x-rayed by the medical staff to identify any foreign bodies.  They then performed a washout of the wound with iodine, then sutured the wound and discharged the patient to home with instructions that the stitches were to be removed in 7 days by their own GP.  No antibiotics were provided. 

Over the next few days, the patient noticed a significant increase in pain, swelling and redness to the wound as well as a discharge of pus.  He returned to the hospital where further extensive treatments were provided as an in-patient  including procedures in theatre where the wound was re-opened, extended, a formal wash-out was performed and Intravenous (IV) antibiotics given.  In the end four separate surgical debridements of the wounds were required to remove all of the infection.  These left a significant deformity on the back of patient’s hand which resulted in cosmetic and functionality issues, in particular reduced grip strength, manipulation and dexterity.  A skin graft taken from the patient’s thigh was required.

Upon investigation it was established by expert evidence that there had been issues at the initial hospital attendance.  The correct procedure would have been admission, referral to theatre for opening and extending the wound to ensure appropriate debridement, washout and, importantly to have left the wound open to heal naturally with IV antibiotics. 

These events had a significant effect upon our client’s ability to function day to day, and to earn a living.  His previous employment was manual for which he required dexterity, strength and in particular grip in his hands to order to perform his job.  Following the incident there were difficulties which affected daily living such as tying shoelaces, using cutlery and even the ability to write. 

Initially the claim was resisted and denied, though following legal proceedings, negligence was admitted though causation and condition and prognosis was disputed.  Following exchange of evidence including a range of quantum reports, settlement was reached prior to Trial for over £100,000. 

Brian Owens can be contacted on 01925 230000 or by email brian.owens@fdrlaw.co.uk

Case reference BUR1979-1