In September 2003 Margaret tripped and fell forward, striking her chin on the ground. She sustained a laceration to her chin and attended her local A&E department. She complained of jaw pain and nausea. No x-rays were ordered and no referral was made to a senior A&E doctor or to the maxillofacial team. Margaret’s chin wound was cleaned and closed, and she was discharged without further advice or follow up.
Over the next few days Margaret continued to suffer pain, but as the pain lessened she became aware her teeth did not feel normal. She attended her dentist on 5th November 2003, and x-rays were taken which confirmed she had an undiagnosed fracture of the condyles on both sides of her jaw.
The hospital admitted that the fracture should have been diagnosed in A&E. Margaret’s medical expert confirmed that if her fractures had been diagnosed at that time, she would have had a period of jaw immobilisation and she would have made a satisfactory recovery. However, instead the fractures healed in their displaced positions, such that her teeth no longer meet. This causes her pain on both sides of her jaw, there is a grinding sensation when she moves her jaw, and she is only able to eat a soft diet due to her inability to chew properly. There is, however, further dental treatment available which might improve the contact between her teeth.
Margaret's personal injury claim was successful and she received a five-figure settlement.
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