NHS Trust Agrees Settlement For Footballer Who Lost Professional Contract After Misdiagnosis

Expert Medical Lawyers Secure Funds For Ongoing Treatment And Rehabilitation To Try To Save Football Career

16.06.2014

The father of an aspiring footballer who lost his professional contract when he was unable to play for months because hospital staff failed to diagnose and treat a fracture to his foot has spoken out in the hope lessons are learnt by the NHS Trust.

The call to raise awareness comes as medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell secured an undisclosed settlement, approved at the County Court in Birmingham last month (30 May), from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for former Walsall Football Club (WFC) player Kaine Beckett to cover costs for his ongoing treatment, rehabilitation and lost earnings.

However, the 17-year-old’s father, Sean, says that whilst the settlement brings justice and closure to their legal battle, it’s a difficult time for Kaine who has joined the growing number of young former professional footballers released from their contracts in the lower leagues because of injuries.

Due to Kaine being unable to play or keep up with his intensive training regime for nearly a year, he was released from his professional football contract with WFC before it was due to expire.

Kaine, who lives in Sutton Coldfield, was reviewed by a WFC physiotherapist after being injured in a tackle whilst playing a professional game on 31 October 2010 and was advised to attend hospital as it was likely he had fractured a bone in his foot.

He was given an X-ray at the Walsall Manor Hospital Accident and Emergency Department but told there was no fracture, just a bad sprain and that he should rest it for 48 hours.

Despite attending hospital again nearly a month later on 24 November as things had not improved and undergoing another X-Ray, staff still did not mention the possibility of a fracture, instead placing Kaine’s foot in a plaster cast for a month and telling him in December that everything had healed well.

It was not until Sean took his son to a private hospital to see a specialist in sports injuries in April 2011 that Kaine was given an MRI scan and he was eventually diagnosed with a fracture to his fifth metatarsal.

Expert evidence commissioned by Irwin Mitchell found that had Kaine’s fracture been diagnosed between 31 October and 24 November his injury could have been successfully treated in a cast. However, the delay meant it worsened leaving Kaine needing a bone graft from his hip to replace the damage in his foot and a pin inserting to encourage it to heal. He then needed his foot in plaster for a further three months.

The trust agreed a partial admission of liability in June 2013, but denied the delay made any difference to the treatment given to Kaine. This paved the way for lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to secure the undisclosed settlement agreement which was approved in the High Court in Birmingham.

Medical law expert Jenna Harris at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office led the case

Expert Opinion
Kaine was put through months of unnecessary pain and suffering as a result of the failure by staff to correctly interpret his X-ray results which showed an abnormality in the bone in his foot.

“Our evidence found that this meant that when he was finally diagnosed, he needed much more extensive surgery and left him out of action for nearly a year. Now, as the country gets set to enjoy the World Cup in Brazil, Kaine has been left wondering if his football career is over before it has even properly started – simply because of the hospital’s mistakes.

“We welcome the settlement from the Trust and hope that it now provides Kaine and his family with peace of mind that he has access to the best possible treatment and rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, so he can hopefully one day get back to playing professional football.

“We hope that the Trust has made every effort to learn from the shortcomings in Kaine’s care to protect future patient safety and ensure no other patients have to go through a similar ordeal.”
Jenna Harris, Associate

48-year-old Sean, a company director, added: “Although the settlement approval marks the end of our legal battle for Kaine, it’s very hard not to remain angry about the huge effect the delay in diagnosing his injury has had on his life.

“Kaine had dedicated his life to football – before his injury he was at peak fitness with a strict regime which included football training three to four times a week, gym twice weekly, long distance running twice per week, cycling two or three times weekly and two football matches.

“To put so much hard work in, to then be unable to do any physical exercise for nearly a year because hospital staff failed to discover the cause of his constant pain is appalling and not something he’ll ever be able to get over.

“Kaine is excited about the World Cup like most 17-year-old lads but as he sees the young talent coming out onto the pitch in Brazil, I know it is a painful reminder of what he has now lost. Hopefully the settlement will allow him to get specialist treatment and he will quickly get back to fitness, giving him a chance to fulfil his footballing potential.

“Nothing can make up for that, but I hope that by speaking out about what he’s been through it reminds those in the medical profession of the importance of quick diagnosis and treatment for patients as the consequences truly can be life-changing.”

 

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to misdiagnosis claims