Former Plumber Calls For Lessons To Be Learned After Hospital Trust Admits Breach Of Duty
A Wiltshire man who had to give up his job as a plumber following a wrist injury is calling for lessons to be learned after a 14-month delay in diagnosing a fracture led to him developing sepsis and requiring a bone graft.
Vasile Rascanescu, 31, from Patney, Devizes, injured his left wrist while playing football in April 2017.
He attended the emergency department at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he underwent an X-ray and was diagnosed with a sprain. He was advised to wear a splint and take painkillers before being discharged. No follow-up was arranged or recommended.
Over the next nine to ten months, Vasile continued to suffer with pain and swelling on an almost daily basis. He visited a GP who provided him with information to attend physiotherapy. He was subsequently referred to orthopaedics.
A series of tests, including an MRI scan, were carried out. Vasile was found to have an old un-united scaphoid fracture and underwent a bone graft. He went on to develop post-operative sepsis and continuing infection, for which he required treatment. In July 2019 he also underwent surgery to remove infected tissue from his left wrist and fuse the joint together which resulted in him having no movement in his wrist.
Following his injury, Vasile instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and help him access the specialist treatment and therapies he requires as part of his recovery.
The hospital trust admitted a breach of duty in that there was a failure to consider the possibility of a left scaphoid fracture during Vasile’s attendance at the emergency department for which there should have been a high index of suspicion. There was also a failure to perform an adequate examination of his left wrist and a failure to request specific scaphoid views when requesting an x-ray, as well as no follow-up arranged.
The trust further admitted that, but for the breaches of duty, Vasile’s scaphoid fracture would have been identified by May 2017 and he would have been referred to orthopaedics, where his wrist would have been immobilised for eight weeks and would have united by the end of June 2017. He would have avoided a 14-month delay in diagnosis, the need to undergo extensive surgery, post-operative sepsis and infection, and surgery to fuse the joint.
The trust issued a letter of apology to Vasile, in which it stated the standard of care in the emergency department “fell below” the level he was “entitled to expect.”
Expert Opinion“The past few years have been incredibly difficult for Vasile. The level of care he received at the emergency department following his wrist injury was well below what’s expected and he’s now left with ongoing issues due to the delay in diagnosing his scaphoid fracture.
While we can’t change what’s happened to Vasile, we welcome the admissions from the hospital trust. It’s important that lessons are learned to improve patient care and prevent others suffering in the way he has.”
Nicole Jackson (née Causey) - Chartered Legal Executive
Prior to 2017, Vasile worked as a project manager for an events company. The role required a lot of heavy lifting which he found difficult after his injury. As a result, in September 2017, he started a new job as a plumber. However, he still suffered with pain and swelling.
Vasile was unable to continue working after December 2018.
Four years on from his injury, Vasile still experiences stiffness and weakness in his left hand. He also has reduced rotation in his wrist.
He lives with his partner and their son, who is now two-years-old.
Vasile said: “When I injured my wrist, I didn’t think much of it and felt reassured at the emergency department that it was just a sprain. I thought it would heal over time, but when it wasn’t any better after almost 10 months, I sought further advice.
“I would never have expected it to turn out the way it did; it was one thing after another.
“I’ve now been left with a permanent injury which affects my life daily. I find it a real struggle to do simple activities as it’s very difficult for me to make a gripping action with my left hand. I even had to give up working in a job which I really enjoyed and hoped to make my career and I still find that hard to accept.
“Sadly there is nothing I can do to turn back the clock and change what’s happened, and I am still so angry and upset at how things have turned out. All I can hope for now is that something is learned from my story to stop others suffering like I have.”