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Undiagnosed bone fractures in children

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    A blog considering the possible consequences for a child of an undiagnosed bone fracture which is not treated appropriately.

    By Rhiannon Wilson

It is important when treating a child presenting with a possible bone fracture that adequate time and care is given to that child. A child with a bone fracture is different to that of an adult, as a child’s bones are still growing. Failure to diagnose a bone fracture in a child can affect the child later on in his or her growth.

Falls are a common occurrence in young children and generally happen when they are playing with friends or engaging in sporting activities. Not every fall will result in a broken bone and depending on the age of the child, it can be difficult for the child to be able to communicate the source of pain and this may mean not enough time is given to that child upon arrival at Hospital.

Lack of assessment

Due to the pressure to reduce waiting times at NHS Hospitals, many clients we have acted for have found that their child has not been appropriately assessed when they have presented to the hospital with a fracture.

The treating practitioner has failed to carry out an x-ray or adequately assess the area and has instead advised the parent to return home with the child for rest.

Problems that can occur from an undiagnosed bone fracture include:

– Inappropriate treatment.
– Ineffective healing of the bone.
– Infection.
– An operation or further operations may be needed as a result of the delay in diagnosis.
– Loss of function.
– Deformity.

Our experience

As Clinical Negligence Lawyers we see cases where a child has been left with an undiagnosed bone fracture.  The consequences of failing to diagnose a fracture promptly, can lead to several problems, which can affect that child throughout the rest of their life.

A Solicitor within our Clinical Negligence Team acted for a young boy who suffered a fracture of his big toe while playing football at school. The hospital failed to diagnose the fracture initially and then failed to realise that an infection had set in. He then required four operations and now suffers from permanent damage to his toe.  The permanent damage and operations could have been avoided if the hospital had acted promptly in diagnosing the fracture in the first instance.

If you or members of your family have suffered damage as a result of a delay in diagnosis of a fracture, please contact the lawyers in the Clinical Negligence Team, who will be able to provide advice on bringing such a claim.

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