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Missed Scaphoid Fracture

Missed Scaphoid Fracture

If your scaphoid fracture was initially missed by medical practitioners, causing you to suffer further complications, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Diagnosing scaphoid fractures

The scaphoid bone is located in the wrist. The bone is often fractured during a fall, especially if someone tries to break their fall by putting their arm out. If there is a suspicion the scaphoid bone is fractured, an x-ray should be carried out.

However, it can be difficult to see scaphoid fractures on an x-ray. Therefore if a fracture cannot be visualised, a patient should be advised of the difficulties in diagnosing scaphoid fractures and told to return if the symptoms persist. X-rays at a later date often show a fracture more readily, so further investigations may be required to reach a definitive diagnosis.

Missed fracture

If a scaphoid fracture is missed, the standard of care must be called into question. If an x-ray did not show the fracture and a patient was advised to return if symptoms persist, the standard of care will be deemed acceptable. Indeed, scaphoid fractures are not always apparent on an x-ray, and as long as the appropriate advice is given, medical practitioners will have acted reasonably.

On the other hand, if a radiographer fails to detect a scaphoid fracture when it is clearly visible on the x-ray, the standard of care will be deemed unacceptable. The same is true if a patient is not advised, either verbally or with an information leaflet, that the scaphoid fracture may not be visible at the immediate time of presentation, but two weeks after the date of injury fractures can become more visible. A patient should then be asked to return for further tests if symptoms continue to remove any doubt as to the diagnosis.

If a clearly visible fracture is missed, or if a patient is not advised to return for a follow-up, there will be a substandard level of medical care.

Complications of a missed scaphoid fracture

The sooner a scaphoid fracture is treated, the better it will heal. If the scaphoid bone is immobilised immediately after the fracture then, ordinarily, it will heal within six weeks. But if the injury is not treated, the individual in question will continue to suffer.

Furthermore, the bone may become displaced, resulting in a malunion of the bone. This means the bone has knitted together in the wrong position, resulting in pain, discomfort and a loss of function. A malunion can be difficult to rectify and may necessitate surgery.

Claiming compensation for a missed fracture

If you have suffered the aforementioned complications because medical practitioners failed to manage your scaphoid fracture appropriately, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. Contact us today to find out more.

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