A patient who suffered continuing problems with a broken leg that was treated by a hospital managed by the Andalucian Health Authority (Servicio Andaluz de Salud) has won his claim for €100,000 in damages as a result of negligence in treating his injury.
His claim was originally not recognised given that the claim lapsed and was not responded to within the prescribed period of time by the Andalucian Health Board. However, the matter was taken to the local courts where the claim was accepted and the damages awarded.
The claimant, who was a bricklayer by trade, had originally broken his legal in 2005. He was taken to the local hospital where he was treated, however, several months later, the bone had still failed to heal. Despite this, the treatment was not modified. In September the following year, an orthopaedic specialist had no alternative but to recommend that the claimant’s left leg be amputated as a result of the continued deterioration in it’s condition.
The Health Authority defended the treatment provided by stating that the leg was immobilised as is the standard and appropriate treatment and which avoided the necessity of surgery and the risks that this would engender.
In the course of the court’s judgment, the judge referred to a private report commissioned by the claimant in which a doctor specialised in the field stated that both the technique and positioning of the plaster-cast were inadequate as they did not achieve the fundamental objective of such treatment which was the fusing of the broken bone.
In the court’s view the duration of the treatment had been excessive (502 days) and had resulted finally in the inability to work in his chosen career. While accepting that medical treatment does not always result in a favourable outcome, but in this case it was not just an unfavourable outcome that had been demonstrated, but also inappropriate treatment.