Hospital Trust apologises to builder left with broken hand for more than a week after ‘failure’ to spot break

QEQM Photo Chris Constantine

A Margate builder says he may seek legal advice after being left with a broken hand for a week despite being told by QEQM Hospital that there was no break.

Dad-of-five David Johnston went to the hospital on March 27 for an X ray to his hand and elbow after falling down the stairs at his home.

The 34-year-old builder says he was told there were no broken bones and sent home but then was in pain and his hand ‘turned grey.’

Partner Chanelle Rowe said: “His GP told him to go back for another X Ray but the hospital refused because they looked over the one from the 27th and said there is a broken bone. They then put a splint on but he was left 7 days misdiagnosed.

“We understand the NHS is under pressure and short staffed but it makes me worry if they are misdiagnosing people.

“He spent a week in pain and unable to work or use his hands for daily task such as getting dressed.

“He been in severe pain but was told to just carry on as normal and the swelling would go down.

“If they are missing something like that what else are they missing? He has five children to look after and works self-employed so there is no sick pay to cover him.

“He now worries what will happen if his hand heals wrong.”

The couple say they are concerned that there may be another break due to a large lump on David’s elbow.

He says he is considering legal action and has spoken to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service).

The East Kent Hospitals Trust said they are not yet aware of any formal complaint but have apologised.

Dr Rebecca Martin, Chief Medical Officer, said; “We are sorry for our failings in Mr Johnston’s care and treatment.

“We are keen to speak to Mr Johnston so that we can listen to his concerns and answer his questions in detail.”


  1. The govt trots the line that the NHS is the best in the world and a institution to deflect from its failings, so that people will overlook them. It is not fit for purpose, look how much we pay and what we get…5 hrs in AE, 12 hrs for an ambo and 3 weeks for a GP Tel call!!! Then they don’t do the job properly any way.
    Privatise now…

    • Privatisation?? Can you afford £1000s. Many in the US go bankrupt even with insurance. Best thing is to encourage the workforce to stay in the UK rather than emigrate to Australia or NZ or Canada where they are valued and not over stressed

  2. Unfortunately he was in to much pain to stand there and clap the NHS for their incompetence!

    Luckily for him it was just his hand… thousands of others are losing their lives because of the clowns we are told are there to help us!

    Every other disease disappeared the day they could use Covid as a excuse to cover their incompetence!

  3. It doesn’t need privatisation it needs better management and more funding!!!!!

    Anyone who has spent any amount of time at QEQM will see it is a run down out dated shambles. That is the nurses fault. Training is scant and management is lacking.

    There are some amazing members of staff that stop it from being even worse.

    We must not make villains of the day to day staff that are under enormous pressure.

    But do for the people of Thanet QEQM is almost at the point where it is not fit for purpose. With people that need the help and support of QEQM (and deserve it) are actively avoiding going to hospital. I know this first hand.

  4. The staff are under enormous pressure demoralised and . So many off sick with Covid Underfunded by this government. Not surprisingly things get missed

    • ‘Underfunded’ maybe one should look at where some of the funding is going? Let’s just have a look at the job creation in the administrative side of East Kent Hospitals shall we? Only this week they are advertising for new postsHead of Public Voice & Involvement £54,764 to £63,862. Lead for Patient Voice Champions £32,306 to £39,027. Involvement Officer £25,655 to £31,534, Patient Voice feedback Co-ordinator £25,655 £31,534. All in Corporate Nursing. I suspect none of them will be caring directly for sick patients. The NHS is top heavy in middle and senior admin management. Throw in a few diversity and grievance staff posts created in HR over the last couple of years you have a tidy sum of money lost to frontline hard pressed staff such Health Care Assistants etc!

  5. More funding????

    You could give them a bottomless pit and STILL it wouldn’t be enough for them!

    Yes it is the nurse, doctors, consultants fault if they cant read an X-Ray or see what’s wrong with people.

    That’s what they get paid for!

    • Well, the difference is if you make en error in a business you might lose a customer or money. If you send somebody home with broken bones, strokes, heart attacks because you listen to the symptoms that should be screaming at you & don’t bother ordering tests, or as we have seen countless times on the news over the years hospitals sending people home with Meningitis-often multiple times, then it is likely either permanent damage or death.

  6. The NHS is a mess. It’s time we had an adult conversation in the UK about its future funding model.

    We can’t simply continue with the model that it will always remain free for everyone living here. That may have been fine in the 1950s but simply isn’t realistic for modern society with the size of our (ageing) population. What’s the point of it being “free” when you can’t actually get a Doctors’ appointment or have to wait 8 hours in A&E ?

  7. Had a similar experience when I was heavily pregnant. Told me I hadn’t broken my foot and sent me home for a week. A week later I got a call from qeqm saying a consultant had looked at the xray again and there was a break and I needed to go in to have it strapped in a boot. It’s never been the same since. Not much I can do about it now tho. Dunno what walking around in pain on it for a week might have done. Hope this guy doesn’t have any on going issues with it tho

  8. A measure of the effectiveness of various heath systems is to look at the neonatal death rates.
    Comparing the USA (where you mortgage your house) with the UK (free at point of delivery) makes interesting reading.

    To save you the effort: the USA has one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, and one of the worst outcomes. Thank your lucky stars that you live in the UK.
    You can choose to ho “private” if you like, safe in the knowledge that if they foul up, the NHS will pick up the pieces.
    How will taking legal action against the NHS help anyone? Any compensation and legal costs the NHS has to cough up means less money for doctors and nurses.

  9. This hospital is getting worse. The amount of people that I know who have had problems is ridiculous. Something needs to be done and they need to stop using Covid as an excuse

  10. I’m afraid this is nothing new and is all too common an occurrence. It has happened to me and two family members. The common thread is don’t go to any hospital department at the weekend and expect proper care. The NHS is very much a Mon-Fri, 9-5 organisation and our experience was that there was nobody on duty competent to interpret X-Rays (or even take them on one occasion)

    It’s all very much the luck of the draw whether you get seen by anyone diligent and trained enough to correctly diagnose and treat you.

    • Absolutely right , my friend works in the health service , they say the same , don’t get Ill at the weekend, most of the senior hospital registars will be off!

  11. The nurses and other staff at margate hospital are not capable of carrying out anything other than sticking a plaster on a cut. I worked here in admin and can honestly say the nurses are not as intelligent as other hospitals. Maybe it is because they are mostly locals. Babies dying. Adults being neglected and misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. The death rates are the highest in the South East in this hospital.

  12. Similar thing happened to me. Had an x-ray after a fall to be told ‘nothing broken’. Recalled after 7 days for a second x-ray. Again was told nothing broken. After numerous visits to my GP with a grossly swollen foot, 9 weeks later they revisited the x-ray and found I had a fractured heel bone. Too late for treatment and now have osteoporosis in the fracture. Thanks QEQM

  13. No surprise… in 2020 my step dad fell over… went to A&E, had an xray and was told he had a slipped disc… 5 WEEKS later a consultant foned him and told him he’d actually broken his back in 2 places… incompetence doesnt cover it… its down right dangerous

Comments are closed.