A complete guide to fractures and surgical negligence

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Terry Regan

Director and Head of Medical and Clinical Negligence

Whenever a bone is broken or fractured, it can cause a great deal of pain and mobility issues, and must be set as soon as possible. Sometimes, fractures can be misdiagnosed, improperly set or even caused during surgery. In these cases, those who experience these setbacks may be entitled to compensation if they claim surgical negligence.

In this guide, we will explore the most common fractures, how they can be caused by clinical negligence and how you can make a successful claim with the help of an experienced solicitor.

Vertebrae and spinal fractures

Spinal fractures can be incredibly debilitating and, if severe, could even lead to paralysis. Common types of spinal fractures include compression fractures, burst fractures, flexion-distraction fractures and fracture-dislocation. Compression fractures are often the result of a disease such as osteoporosis, whereas burst and flexion-distraction fractures are often caused by trauma, such as car accidents.

Surgery on the spine, if carried out ineffectively, can lead to further damage to the bones, nerves or surrounding tissue. This can occur if the surgery is performed unnecessarily, at the wrong site, or if poor hygiene leads to infection of the vertebrae. If you experience any paralysis or mobility problems because of medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

By gathering evidence surrounding the negligence, you can acquire the help of a specialist and accredited solicitor to analyse your case and support your claim throughout. To find out more, please read our full guide here.

Hip fractures

Fracturing your hip can cause severe mobility issues, and can sometimes result in a total hip replacement. Hip fractures can be missed or misdiagnosed, and only part of the fracture can sometimes be identified. Because of surgical negligence, minor problems can often turn into major complications.

Muscle loss is a common risk of a hip fracture, especially in the elderly where rehabilitation time may be delayed. Deep vein thrombosis and infection could also occur at the surgery site due to negligence. You can claim damages for your pain and suffering and your past and future losses for clinical negligence.

By providing sufficient evidence, an experienced lawyer can help you process your claim. To find out more, you can read the full guide here.

Ankle fractures

75 per 100,000 adults under the age of 50 will suffer from an ankle fracture per year. Like most fractures, they can occur by accident, but sometimes medical negligence can lead to misdiagnosis or infection. Complications involved with ankle surgery include lasting nerve damage and blood clots, and although they are common, they can still be caused by clinical negligence.

Risks involved in any operation should be discussed with you beforehand, but if this conversation did not take place and a fracture happened post-surgery, you could be entitled to make a claim. Medical negligence leading to weakened mobility or post-trauma arthritis can also be grounds for a significant claim.

Depending on the severity of the fracture and how long term the effects are could affect your compensation. You should seek legal advice from medical negligence experts as soon as possible to improve the viability of your claim. You can read our full guide on ankle fractures here.

Malunion fractures

Malunion fractures can appear anywhere if a broken bone has not been set properly. When a fracture does not heal correctly or there is a delay in treatment, it can create a deformity, known as a malunion fracture. If you have your fracture set or repaired by a medical professional that results in a malunion fracture, you could be entitled to make a claim. Malunion fractures can lead to deformity, decreased mobility and post-traumatic arthritis.

Malunion fractures are most likely to occur in the hand, arm, ankle and foot. If the fracture was not diagnosed quickly enough, or if it was not set correctly, you could make a claim for surgical or medical negligence depending on the circumstances. All treatment must be provided adequately and within a reasonable timeframe; failure to provide this can be classed as negligent.

Depending on how the fracture has affected your day-to-day life, you could make a significant claim. Seeking legal advice can help you build a strong case, along with appropriate evidence and notes. You can read our full guide on malunion fractures here.

Scaphoid fractures

A scaphoid fracture is a widespread arm and wrist injury, occurring on the scaphoid bone in the wrist. These fractures can take up to three months to heal due to their delicate positioning. There are many complications that can arise following an improperly treated scaphoid fracture, including malunion and avascular necrosis. This happens when the bone does not get enough blood supply, leading to necrotic bone tissue.

Negligence can occur if the fracture was missed or even caused during routine surgery. Collecting evidence such as letters between you and your surgeon can help improve the reliability of your case and improve your chances of being successful.

To read more about scaphoid fractures,please read our previous guide here.

Distal radius fractures

Like a scaphoid fracture, a distal radius fracture is a kind of break in the wrist. The three common types of distal radius fractures include a Colles fracture, a Smith’s fracture and a Barton’s fracture, each with their own distinct features. These fractures can cause damage to ligaments and tendons, as well as deformity and ruptures.

If a surgeon incorrectly sets your fracture, which leads to malunion, you can make a claim for surgical negligence, but you should always seek medical advice first. Infection may also occur at the surgery site, or it may even be missed on x-rays. By collecting the necessary evidence, you can take steps to make a claim against your surgeon with the help of qualified solicitors.

To read more about distal radius fractures and how you can make a successful claim, please read our previous guide here.


About the author

Director and Head of Medical and Clinical Negligence

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