A misdiagnosed bone fracture, whether from an arm, leg, or other body part can cause irreparable damage that should never have occurred. The delay in an accurate diagnosis can prevent the bone from healing properly and cause constant pain, limit movement of the injured area, and substantial alteration of your lifestyle.
When a patient arrives at an emergency room, urgent care center, or doctor’s office with an injury, the medical staff must completely and accurately evaluate the medical condition. This includes not only diagnosing the fracture, but commencing appropriate and timely treatment.
In most situations, an x-ray will diagnose a bone fracture. Sometimes an x-ray is either never performed because the medical staff fails to order an x-ray. Other times, the radiologist misdiagnoses the bone fracture as something else.
When a fracture is misdiagnosed, it often goes untreated. Unfortunately this misdiagnosis can happen after many visits with your treating doctor, with the doctor getting multiple chances to get the diagnosis right and still missing it. As a result, the bone heals on its own without appropriate placement. This is called a nonunion. A nonunion that heals improperly is called a delayed union.
When a nonunion or delayed union happens and the bones are not properly aligned, surgery is needed to reset the fracture so it is aligned normally. Had the condition been diagnosed and treated initially, however, it may only have needed to be casted. Even with surgery, substantial damage could have been done that could otherwise have been avoided.
The misdiagnosis of a bone fracture can give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the emergency room physician or any professional medical staffer fails to make the correct diagnosis or a radiologist misreads an x-ray film, the interruption in treatment can cause substantial damage to the patient. Furthermore, failure to refer a patient with broken bones to a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon can also be considered negligent medical care and grounds for a lawsuit.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will review your medical records, talk to you about what happened, and then if he or she believes that negligence occurred will begin consulting with experts in the same specialty as the doctor that misdiagnosed the bone fracture and to confirm whether the doctor deviated from the standard of a care in their treatment.
If you believe that your bone fracture was misdiagnosed or there was a delay in treatment, The Thistle Law Firm is experienced in these claims and can help you understand your legal options and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.