Personal injury news

Doctors mistake neck fracture injury for whiplash

A North Warwickshire lorry driver has been paid an undisclosed sum by the hospital whose doctors mistook a serious neck injury for whiplash.

Coventry's University Hospital has settled the driver's personal injury claim for pain, discomfort and loss of earnings.

The 43-year-old was involved in a road accident in June 2007 which led to him being airlifted to hospital.

CT scans done at the time revealed a spinal fracture, but the break went noticed by doctors responsible for his care.

Medical notes from the following days show that he was instead treated for whiplash, and discharged in agonizing pain.

"I said to them, ‘surely you cannot send me home like this,'" he recalled. "I was in so much pain I went straight to bed and within half an hour had to call the doctor."

The true cause of his discomfort went undetected until the following November, by which time his broken neck had begun fusing back together.

It took another five months and three operations to repair his spine, and three years later he still suffers pins and needles and has limited use of his right hand.

The hospital's chief medical officer said its trauma department was among the best in the country, but added that not all mistakes could be prevented.

"Inevitably in such a busy department incidents will occur from time to time," he said.

Though a settlement has been reached, the hospital has not admitted liability for the neck injury.


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