Repeated negligence turns routine wrist injury into yearslong ordeal

Date: Dec 11, 2019

In 2015, Katrina Vella fell and broke her wrist. It was a routine fracture that required doctors to X-ray and reset her wrist, but four years later, Vella is still suffering the consequences of mistakes made by several medical professionals in Queensland.

Intense pain ensued

Doctors reset her wrist at a 45-degree angle, the first X-ray shows. As a result, Vella’s wrist did not set properly, and she experienced intense and ongoing pain.

“I was in excruciating pain,” Vella told news.com.au. “My fingers were swollen, my whole hand was hot and burning but I thought it was all a normal part of having a broken wrist.”

Vella, who has taken legal action against Townsville Hospital, said a series of doctors continued improper care as they removed her cast, failed to put in place proper care measures and, nearly a year later, sent her into surgery to repair the damage caused by the initial improper care. For that year, the wrist damage affected her life in a number of ways, from her capacity to carry out daily tasks to her ability to speak.

“I was still in excruciating pain and was on medication that affected my driving, speech and sleep, to the point where I developed sleep apnea. When I was having a conversation I struggled to think of the words I needed.”

She was sent into surgery to repair the damage, but surgeons were not successful with the procedure, instead causing more harm.

“I woke up from the operation screaming in pain,” Vella said. “I was begging a room full of strangers to let me die, that’s how bad it was.”

Legal action taken

Rather than fixing the damage, the medical team had severed four of her tendons, later suggesting she may have been responsible for the harm.
“The doctor sat me down and told me ‘either we severed four of your tendons during surgery or you have done something’,” she said.

“I was angry at that point because I had been doing everything I was told. I told him, ‘You know full well when they severed and who severed them.'”

Vella underwent two more operations to help fix her wrist, but neither of those surgical procedures gave her back normal use of her wrist. Today, Vella is still unable to use her wrist fully, without the ability to complete basic tasks such as using buttons on clothing.

Vella is pursuing legal action against Townsville Hospital, where she was initially improperly treated, seeking compensation for the permanent damage done as a result of medical negligence.

Have you been the victim of medical negligence? Don’t hesitate to contact the medical negligence experts of Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.