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Hospital missed broken bones - what do I do? (Read 10667 times)

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Hospital missed broken bones - what do I do?
Aug 29th, 2012 at 8:57pm
OK, long story short. 2 years ago I had a car accident... cut out of the car, spinal board into A&E. Have little memory of exactly what went on in the hospital (morphine was my friend!). I remember x-rays being taken.
I ended up with broken rhs collarbone, several broken metatarsals in my right foot and severe bruising.

Had a sore back and lhs wrist whilst in hospital (for a week) where I also caught staphylococcus pneumoniae in my stomach. Dr's put it down to muscular trauma. Both remained painful and I brought this up at the follow up ortho appointments where a consultant had a prod & a poke and said there was nothing wrong, probably muscular.

Fast forward 2 years (of being careful, avoiding certain things - like lifting a full kettle or pan, taking lots of painkillers, being told by GP's there was nothing wrong) and I finally convinced a new GP to refer me back to the hospital.

Consultant there said my records show x-rays were taken of my back and wrist but these aren't on my record apparently - though the other ones are. Perhaps these others were removed as Consultant (A) decided there was nothing to see here......... who knows.

New x-rays taken and I have a broken wrist (piece of bone floating about, clear as day) and a broken vertebrae in my coccyx. Consultant (B) 'not that worried about your back' as bone as partially knitted. Wrist will require keyhole surgery.

Options for back (according to him) are;
- live with it
- be referred to a pain clinic for a concotion of analgesia
- have an op which involves opening up back, stretching bones out (30% chance of improvement, potential complications)
- if the above doesn't work, have another open up your back op to remove coccyx (again, 30% chance of improvement and lots of potential problems)

Also apparently 80% chance of now getting arthritis in my spine due to break.

I want to get a second opinion but I also want to know what I do. They missed a crack in my back and a blatantly broken wrist.

Oh - and I'm not for jumping feet first into the 'legal experts are ready to help with your claim'! I just don't understand how this can happen and what the right path to take is.

Any advice would be welcome.

Thank you
(merrybanana's missus) Smiley
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Re: Hospital missed broken bones - what do I do?
Reply #1 - Aug 31st, 2012 at 4:09pm

Sorry to hear about this, I know that it can make things uncomfortable.

At the outset, let me say that I'm not medically qualified, nor a lawyer, but I thought I'd share my thoughts on reading your post.

I have broken both my wrists, at different times, and both hospitals said that the wrist is a very complex joint, with a considerable number of bones, and breaks can often be difficult to see.  I also looked at my x-rays at the time and one of the consultants took time to explain what he saw.

He said that occasionally a wristbone can have a hairline crack that would be difficult to see under x-ray, so maybe that's what happened in your case.  not negligence, but just not a clear-cut case.

I also have arthritis but not in the joints that were broken, and you could get it anyway in the long run.  I was told that it can happen in joints years after there has been some sort of inflammation, so taking anti-inflammatory's such as ibruprofen at the time can help, but again no guarantees.

So, I suggest you ask the consultant honestly if this had been missed at the time, or perhaps your other injuries were such that it could not have been diagnosed or treated at the time.  It may have been observed, but the medical advise would have specified no specific treatment at that time, for example as they advise for broken ribs.

I can understand that you feel upset about it, however I suggest focussing on getting treatment now which will make you more comfortable in the long term.
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