Anyone who has ever broken a bone knows just how painful a fracture can be. In fact, part of the reason why fractures are treated as emergencies is the pain they cause to the patients.
However, in some cases, a broken bone may not be immediately recognized by the doctors in the emergency room. Some minor fractures don't readily show up on X-rays, especially if the patient is older and the break is to the hip or wrist. Regardless, when there is pain in the area that does not fade, orthopedic surgeons should employ other diagnostic tools in their arsenals, like bone scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), angiograms or computed tomography (CT) scans.
But what if your doctor misses the fracture diagnosis entirely, either out of negligence for not ordering the right diagnostic tests or out of ignorance when reading the results? In some cases, the consequences to the patient may be quite severe.
Patients have suffered damaged nerves and blood vessels. In some cases, the bone and surrounding tissue can become badly infected (osteomyelitis). If the infection is serious enough, the patient could wind up losing a limb to amputation.
Getting the right diagnosis after a fracture is essential to healing the injury site with the least possible complications. Doctors who fail their patients with their diagnostic skills leave themselves open to orthopedic malpractice claims if the patient winds up losing the use of the limb or even the limb itself.
If your fracture went undiagnosed and treated, you may decide to seek civil justice from the negligent orthopedic surgeon by filing a claim for damages