Medical Negligence
By Gary Daly
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Broken Bones & Broken Trust: Unveiling the Harsh Reality of Fracture Misdiagnosis

Fracture Misdiagnosis and Medical Negligence: Accurate and timely diagnosis is crucial as it forms the basis for appropriate treatment and patient care. There are however instances when treating clinicians fail to correctly identify and diagnose fractures, leading to significant physical and emotional distress to patients. This article examines and simplifies misdiagnosis of fractures and resulting medical negligence in Northern Ireland.

The Importance of Accurate Fracture Diagnosis

Fractures are common injuries and require prompt and accurate diagnosis. A missed or misdiagnosed fracture accompanied with incorrect treatment can result in serious complications including impaired mobility, chronic pain, exacerbation of injuries and potentially long term physical disabilities. A timely diagnosis ensures that appropriate treatment is provided for example immobilisation, casting or surgery. This will aide the healing process and mitigate the risk of complications.

Medical Negligence and Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis of a fracture can be classified as medical negligence if it is determined that the treating clinician breached the duty of care owed to the patient by failing to accurately diagnose the fracture or failing to carry out appropriate medical investigations resulting in a misdiagnosis of the fracture.

Causes of Misdiagnosis

Several factors can contribute to the misdiagnosis of a fracture including:-

  • 1. Inadequate Examination – This can include insufficient physical examination or a failure to arrange appropriate diagnostic imaging/testing such as x-rays, MRI scans or CT scans;

  • 2. Lack of Specialist Consultation – Often, general practitioners or other clinicians may lack the expertise necessary to accurately diagnose a fracture. Failure to seek a second opinion from a specialist such as an orthopaedic surgeon may lead to misdiagnosis of a fracture;

  • 3. Misinterpretation of Imaging – Radiological imaging such as an MRI scan or an x-ray require experts to accurately assess and determine the images correctly. Errors in interpreting the imaging taken can result in a misdiagnosis.  

  • 4. Time Constraints and Busy A&E Departments – Busy, stretched healthcare settings, time constraints and heavy workloads can contribute to diagnostic errors.

  • 5. Lack of Communication – Effective communication between clinicians working in healthcare is paramount to avoid misdiagnoses in fractures. If pertinent information is not adequately conveyed or documented, there is a higher risk of misdiagnosis. 

Misdiagnosis of Fracture: Impact on Patients

The consequences of misdiagnosed fractures can be severe and can affect both the physical and mental wellbeing of patients. Delay in treatment or substandard treatment may result in prolonged pain, delay in healing, deformity, and reduced functionality.

Medical Negligence: Misdiagnosis of Fracture

Misdiagnosis of fractures and subsequent medical negligence can have serious implications for patients in Northern Ireland. It is essential for healthcare professionals and treating clinicians to prioritise accurate diagnosis and patient safety. This can be through improved medical education, strict guidelines, collaboration of clinicians and by adopting a patient-centred care approach.

In Northern Ireland, if you think that you have suffered harm as a result of a misdiagnosis of a fracture, you may be entitled to compensation. This is by way of a claim in which breach of duty and causation must be established. It must be found that your fracture was misdiagnosed by a healthcare professional who therefore breached their duty of care owed to you as a patient, and that you suffered or experienced further negative effects, for example chronic pain, as a result of same – causation.

Contact Us

We at P.A. Duffy & Co Solicitors understand that dealing with medical negligence can be a distressing and challenging experience. However, our dedicated and compassionate medical negligence team are here to support you every step of the way. Our experienced solicitors have a deep understanding of the complex legal aspects surrounding medical negligence misdiagnosis of fracture cases and are committed to achieving results for our clients. Whether you have suffered from a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis we are here to listen to your story, provide expert guidance and obtain the compensation you deserve.

To discuss a potential Misdiagnosis of fracture medical negligence claim in Northern Ireland and to schedule an initial consultation, please get in touch with our Medical Negligence team here at P.A. Duffy & Co Solicitors who would be happy to discuss your concerns further.

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