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Missed Fracture Claims

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What is a Missed Fracture Claim?

The term fracture relates to any break in a bone, whether it be a complete break or hairline damage. Fractures are very common injuries, and the majority are correctly treated and there is no long-term damage. Fractures often follow a trauma such as a fall or impact though can also be caused by everyday knocks on brittle bones caused by medical conditions.  Failure to properly diagnose and treat these injuries can lead to significant long-term problems which effect day to day life.

It is vital when met with a patient presenting with a history of acute trauma, or perhaps a medical condition such as osteoporosis, that full details of the mechanism of injury be taken, a thorough examination performed and imaging taken if deemed appropriate. Thereafter the patient should have all treatment options outlined to them including possibility of conservative treatment such as immobilisation and rest, as well as possible surgical requirements.

In 2018/2019 attendances for primary diagnosis of fracture accounted for 5.1% of total attendance in A&E departments. NICE Guidelines are in place for assessment and management of fractures and Hospitals are expected to follow these.

What are the most common missed fractures?

There are some types of fractures which, due to their nature, are more commonly missed by medical professionals. Often fractures can be masked by swelling on imaging if they are not too severe and can be missed.

Examples include, but are not limited to.

  • Clavicle fractures (collarbone)
  • Forearm fractures (radius and ulna)
  • Ankle fractures
  • Wrist fractures / Scaphoid fractures
  • Hip fractures

When may a fracture get missed?

There are some more common reasons a fracture may get missed.

Fractures are most commonly missed due to:

  • Failure to take proper history in terms of mechanism of injury and pre-existing medical conditions or treatments which may effect bone strength and therefore make fractures more likely.
  • Diagnostic error, including misdiagnosis of soft tissue injury when a fracture was in fact sustained
  • Radiology reporting inadequacies, including failure to identify fracture
  • Failure to refer for imaging at all.
  • Failure to refer to senior colleagues where appropriate.

The impact of a missed fracture

The consequences of missing a fracture often leads to further injury such as displacement of the fracture, damage to surrounding soft tissue, vascular system and / or nerve damage which can led to permanent disability such as drop foot or even paralysis.  You may now need aids and equipment, and possible care and adaptations to be made at your home as a result. You may require further procedures that would have been avoided had the fracture been correctly identified.

Our Team is experienced in obtaining the maximum compensation to help with the rehabilitation and further needs you may require for the future.

If you believe your doctor or a medical professional has missed a fracture and this has led to further suffering and avoidable treatment, you could claim for medical negligence. Please contact our experienced team who can assist you further.

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