Douglas* was changing some glass in a door one evening when he sustained a laceration to the palmar aspect of his right ring and middle fingers. He went to a local walk-in centre where they quite properly identified a need for full wound exploration because of possible tendon or nerve damage. They contacted the Sunderland Royal Hospital and arrangements were made for him to attend there. He attended the same day and, following an initial triage at the emergency department, he was then seen by a nurse who infiltrated the wound with 1 ml 1% lignocaine and then applied stitches.
He was then discharged with advice to follow-up with his general practitioner’s practice nurse. It was only some weeks later, when Douglas consulted with his GP that it was realised that he ought to have undergone surgical exploration of the hand. His GP noted that he had persistent numbness over the radial aspect of the right middle finger and he was promptly referred to the hospital for treatment. He underwent surgery for exploration during which it was found the nerve had been damaged and there was a neuroma. The nerve was repaired.
Neil Heavisides acting on behalf of Douglas put forward a claim to the Sunderland Royal Hospital and, via the NHS LA, agreed a settlement on behalf of DM in the sum of £7,000.
* "Douglas" is a pseudonym to preserve anonymity