Failure to Diagnose Bone Fractures
Failing to diagnose a hip, spine or neck fracture can lead to joint damage, paralysis or permanent disability. Sometimes doctors make mistakes, we help you get answers.
Bone fractures are relatively common injuries. We trust doctors and other medical professionals to accurately diagnose and properly treat an injury as common as a bone fracture. Modern medical technology makes detecting and treating fractures much easier. However, when mistakes are made, the consequences can be severe. You may be eligible for compensation if you have suffered injuries as the result of a doctor’s failure to stabilize or diagnose a bone fracture.
Types and Causes of Bone Fractures
A bone fracture is a broken bone. A bone can be completely broken or only partially fractured in a number of ways. Even though bones are rigid, they are able to bend somewhat under outside force. However, if that force becomes too great, or if the bones are weak, they can break.
Common types of fractures include:
- Stable Fractures
- Compound Fractures
- Transverse Fractures
- Oblique Fractures
- Comminuted Fractures
There are a number of causes of fractures. Some of the more common reasons include:
- Trauma – falling from a height or ice, slip and fall injuries, motor vehicle accidents, direct blows to the bone
- Osteoporosis – This disorder causes bones to become weak and brittle, so that even mild stresses to the bones can cause fractures.
- Overuse – Repetitive motion can cause muscles to tire out and place undue force on the bone. This can result in stress fractures.
Medical Malpractice and Bone Fractures
Any bone in the body can experience a fracture. There are numerous situations that can cause this type of injury. Some of the consequences are minor, while others can lead to more long-term disabilities. The problem can be made worse if a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to diagnose the fracture. Failing to diagnose a hip, spine or neck fracture can lead to joint damage, paralysis or permanent disability.
There was a case of a 16-year-old boy who fractured his hip. However, his condition went undiagnosed and untreated. By the time the fracture was discovered, he ended up needing a full hip replacement. In his case this would not have been necessary if the fracture had been detected initially. Not only did the boy need an expensive surgery to replace his hip, but he will need it replaced every ten years for the rest of his life, not to mention the cost of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Some of the reasons a fracture may fail to be diagnosed include a doctor misinterpreting X-rays, a patient being discharged without a diagnosis or a medical professional failing to properly stabilize the fracture. If a doctor neglects to diagnose a fracture and sends the patient home without restrictions on work or exercise, the patient may continue to put strain and pressure on the fracture, which may cause additional injury.
Failure to Diagnose Spinal Fracture
A spinal fracture, or a vertebral fracture, is a fracture that affects the bones that are in the spinal column. There are a number of things that can cause a spinal fracture. Fractures can occur in the bones of the spinal column when there is bone loss. Osteoporosis is one common culprit. However, other things can contribute to the loss of bone mass, making a person susceptible to a spinal fracture. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and the long-term use of corticosteroids can put a person at risk.
Trauma is also another common cause. People who are involved in car or truck accidents can suffer spinal fractures.
A physical exam and x-ray can help to determine whether or not a person has suffered a spinal fracture. However, failure to stabilize a spinal fracture can lead to paralysis or other types of disabilities.
Contact a St. Louis Failure to Diagnose Lawyer
If you believe that you have a medical negligence or malpractice claim arising from a physician’s failure to diagnose or stabilize a fracture, contact the Missouri and Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation by calling (314) 588-7200 or by filling out our online contact form.
photo credit: Mark Coggins