Have you suffered a fracture to the forearm or wrist that has been missed or misdiagnosed? Has a missed radius fracture caused you problems with recovery, or led to a worse prognosis? If so, this could be classed as avoidable harm, and if you have suffered this due to private or NHS negligence, you may be able to claim compensation for it. This guide offers those that have suffered a forearm fracture some useful advice on making a claim for compensation if they have visited a GP or hospital with a suspected orthopaedic injury that has not been accurately diagnosed or treated, causing them to suffer preventable harm.
Covered in the sections below is information pertaining to common symptoms of a fractured radius, the diagnosis and treatment of a radius fracture, and what to do if you suffer further harm because of a missed or misdiagnosed radius fracture. If you would like any further information on the information below, you can reach the team here at Medical Negligence Assist on 0800 652 3087. However, we would urge you to take a look at the sections below in full to see if your questions have already been answered.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claims For A Missed Radius Fracture
- What Are Misdiagnosed Radius Fractures?
- Why Are Errors Made In The Diagnosis Of Fractures?
- Causes Of Radius Bone Breaks And Fractures
- Symptoms Of A Fractured Radius
- Diagnosis And Treatment For A Fractured Radius
- My Fracture Was Misdiagnosed, Could I Claim Compensation?
- My GP Misdiagnosed My Radius Fracture, Could I Claim?
- A Hospital Misdiagnosed My Radius Fracture, Could I Claim?
- New Rights For Patients Of The NHS
- What Is The Time Limit To Make A Medical Misdiagnosis Claim?
- Calculating Compensation For A Missed Radius Fracture
- No Win No Fee Compensation Claims For A Missed Radius Fracture
- Begin A Misdiagnosis Claim
- Where To Learn More
If you have suffered a radial fracture, you would likely have been in some pain and could have sought advice/treatment from a medical professional. But what happens if you have suffered a fractured radius bone and the doctor has missed or misdiagnosed your injury? Whether you have had a misdiagnosed or missed fracture of the radius because of GP negligence or hospital negligence, if it has caused you to suffer avoidable harm, you could consider claiming compensation. In the sections below is useful information concerning fractured forearm injuries, as well as details of the duty of care you are owed by medical professionals that care for you. Also included is information on what treatment for a fractured radius could be deemed appropriate, and what could happen if you do not get the right treatment for a distal radius fracture. We also cover information pertaining to medical malpractice claims and how long you might have to make such a claim, as well as the compensation you may be entitled to.
When you visit a GP or a hospital with a suspected orthopaedic fracture, the medical professional who is caring for you should ensure that the appropriate steps for diagnosis and treatment are taken. If they do not do so, and you suffer harm that could be considered to be avoidable you may be able to make a compensation claim for the avoidable suffering and pain you have experienced, as well as financial costs and losses associated with your misdiagnosis.
If you break your radial bone, and do not get the appropriate advice or treatment for your injury, it could cause malunion, which means that the bones do not knit correctly. This could cause symptoms that could include:
- Grip weakness
- Residual pain
- Reduced range of movement
- And more…
Errors could be made in the diagnosis of a fracture for many reasons. An article in the BMC Emergency Medical Journal suggests that the time a patient presents to the emergency department could have some bearing on this. Research was conducted into fracture misdiagnoses over a 2-year period in a specific emergency department and missed diagnosis/missed diagnosis cases peaked between 8 pm and 2 am. This could suggest that doctors working at these times may need to consult with radiology to reduce the frequency of diagnoses, especially between these hours. This is because the study concluded that the majority of cases in their research were misdiagnosed by way of incorrect interpretation of X-ray results.
However, there are also other reasons a radial fracture could be missed or misdiagnosed. These could include:
The correct diagnostic tests not having been ordered – the medical professional may fail to order the appropriate X-rays to check for a fractured radius of the arm. Or, they may order an X-ray of another area. For example, if a doctor doesn’t suspect a radius fracture at the elbow, because pain is centred in the forearm, they may miss a fractured radius of the elbow by x-raying the lower forearm/wrist.
The X-rays not being clear – A hairline fracture of the forearm may not show up if an X-ray is not clearly taken. Radiology error could result in a radius bone fracture being missed if the X-rays aren’t clear or taken at the appropriate angle.
The X-rays not being analysed – If there has been a miscommunication between radiology and the emergency department of a hospital, a patient could be discharged because their X-rays have not been analysed at all.
The X-rays not being analysed accurately – If a careful study of an X-ray is not made, then a patient could suffer a missed radius fracture. If a doctor with little experience in orthopaedics is not sure how to interpret an X-ray correctly, they may be required to ask another doctor for their opinion so that an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be given. If they do not do so, a radius bone fracture could be missed.
Whether you have had a missed fracture of the radius because of any of the reasons above, or because of a different form of medical negligence, if you’ve suffered avoidable harm, you could be eligible to claim compensation.
The causes of a break to the radius bone could vary. Usually, they are as a result of blunt force trauma. This could be as a result of:
- A motor vehicle accident
- A fall on an outstretched hand
- An assault
- A crushing injury (for example in machinery, or a door)
However, some medical conditions could lead to bones being weaker than normal, such as osteoporosis.
Repetitive strain on the area could also lead to a stress fracture of a bone.
Whatever the reason for your radius bone fracture, if you seek treatment and then suffer a missed radius fracture due to medical negligence, you could claim compensation for the avoidable harm this has led you to suffer.
Fractured radius symptoms could include:
- Immediate, sharp pains in the area – If you are asking ‘how painful is a distal radius fracture?’ it would depend on the severity of the break and how displaced the bones are.
- Hearing the sound of snapping or popping on injury
- Tenderness and swelling
- Deformity (in the wrist or the forearm) – The most typical form of this would be what is sometimes called the ‘dinner fork’ – For example, if you have suffered a fractured right radius and hold your arm out to the right side, the view of the injury could appear similar to a fork that is overturned. The same would be true if you held a fractured left radius out to the left-hand side.
- Inability to move the wrist
- Numbness in the wrist
- Bruising around the forearm and wrist
If you break a radius bone, and you have described your fractured radius symptoms to a medical professional, they would then potentially examine the area to see if they could spot any obvious deformity. They may send you straight for an X-ray, whereupon you would have pictures taken of the wrist and the surrounding area to check for visible signs of broken bones.
Upon assessment of the X-ray, your doctor would likely either diagnose you or send you for further tests, such as further scans, if they are still not sure whether or not you have suffered a fractured radius.
How Do You Treat A Fractured Radius?
If you are diagnosed with a fractured radius, you may be wondering ‘How is a radius fracture treated?’. The answer to this question depends entirely on the severity of the break, and whether the fracture is displaced, which means that the bone fragments have moved out of their natural position.
In the main, the way in which these fractures would be treated would involve ensuring the bone fragments were in the right place and then immobilising the wrist in a cast or splint until such time as the bones had knitted together.
Does A Distal Radius Fracture Require Surgery?
In some cases, where the wrist needs to be manipulated for the bone fragments to be put back into place, or where they would need securing with pins, screws or wires, you may need to undergo surgery. Usually, distal radius surgery would be completed under general anaesthetic and you would then have your wrist put into a plaster cast or splint while it healed.
How Long Does It Take For A Radius Fracture To Heal?
Healing times for radius fractures would usually be between 4-8 weeks without surgery. However, sometimes healing could take longer several months before a full range of motion, strength and function return.
In order to pursue a compensation claim for a missed radius fracture you would have to prove that:
- You sought medical advice from a hospital doctor, who negligently missed or misdiagnosed your injury.
- You suffered avoidable harm because of the negligence you suffered when your radius fracture was misdiagnosed.
Proving avoidable harm could be quite complex, particularly because you would have to prove that more harm had been done to you because of the negligence than you would have suffered from the initial injury. You would have to visit an independent medical expert for this to be assessed and documented as part of any personal injury compensation claim. You may wish to seek advice from an experienced medical negligence solicitor to help you build a strong case for compensation.
If you visited your GP with fractured radius symptoms, your GP should ask you relevant questions and then decide whether or not they could diagnose your injury. If they are not sure whether they could diagnose you, they should send you to someone with more experience or the correct equipment, such as X-ray machines, for you to be accurately diagnosed. If they do not do so, despite you showing clear symptoms of a fracture, you could claim compensation for GP negligence for any additional harm suffered.
We have mentioned some ways in which fractures could be misdiagnosed at the hospital. These could include instances where:
- An X-ray was not ordered
- An X-ray was not taken properly
- An X-ray was not assessed properly
- And more…
Hospitals are under pressure to see, assess, diagnose and treat patients in a certain amount of time, which could lead to mistakes being made. If you have suffered harm from a missed radius fracture because of any of these reasons or any other form of medical negligence, then you could consider making a claim for compensation.
Patients of the NHS have stronger rights than they once did. The changes made within the NHS relating to medical negligence include:
Openness – Patients now have a right to have any mistakes made in their care acknowledge, explained and apologised for.
Complaints – Patients should have complaints acknowledged within three working days, and patients now have stronger rights on how complaints are handled.
Patients also have a right to be treated as per the minimum CQC standards, which include their right to be treated by competent, qualified staff, their right to safe treatment and more.
If you believe your rights have not been adhered to, or standards of care have dropped below what the CQC deem reasonable, then you could claim compensation if you have suffered harm because of this.
If you are considering making a claim for a missed or misdiagnosed radius fracture, and the harm it has caused you, then you might wonder how long you would have to launch this type of personal injury claim. The personal injury claims time limit in such cases would normally be 3 years, but this three-year period might not begin the day you suffered a broken forearm. If you found out much later that the medical malpractice you’d suffered had caused you avoidable harm, the three-year limit may begin on the date of discovery.
We should also mention that there are some exceptions to this three-year time limit, including those that could apply if you suffered a missed radius fracture as a child and no one made a claim on your behalf at the time. For more information on such exceptions, please do get in touch and we’ll aim to provide you with all the guidance you may need.
Are you looking for a personal injury claims calculator to see how much you could claim for a missed radius fracture and the harm that it has caused you? It would be prudent of us to mention that these calculators could only ever provide a very rough idea of your compensation payout. You would be required to have an independent assessment of your medical condition from a medical expert, and this would be used to value your claim. With this in mind, we have chosen to provide you with compensation payout information taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, set out in table format instead.
|Claims Payout Bracket
|Severe injuries to the arm
|£90,250 to £122,860
|Injuries stopping short of amputations but that leave the claimant with little better prognosis than if the arm had actually been lost.
|Injuries to the arm that result in substantial permanent disabilities
|£36,770 to £56,180
|Fractures of one or both of the forearms, leaving claimants with permanent substantial disabilities. These can be cosmetic or functional.
|Less severe injuries to the arm
|£18,020 to £36,770
|Where significant disabilities may have been suffered, but where there has been a substantial level of recovery. Recovery may be expected or may already have taken place.
|Fractures of the forearm – simple
|£6,190 to £18,020
If you do not think any of the injuries in the table above fit your injury, then please get in touch with us. We would be happy to provide you with more information over the phone.
We should also mention that the amounts in the table above relate to your injury and the suffering and pain you’ve experienced due to your missed radius fracture. However, you could also receive compensation for monetary costs and losses that have come about directly because of the clinical negligence you’ve suffered. If you have missed out on pay as you couldn’t attend work because of your missed fracture of the radius, you could claim loss of earnings. You could also claim for any medical/travel costs or care costs that have come about because of this type of medical negligence.
If you are considering making a claim for a missed radius fracture, and would like assistance from a personal injury lawyer, then you may be wondering whether you could make a claim on a No Win No Fee basis. These kinds of claims do not require you to pay a personal injury solicitor upfront. Instead, you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement with the lawyer, which would agree to pay them a success fee in the event of a successful claim. The success fee is usually laid out as a percentage (not more than 25%) of the final compensation settlement, and would only be payable in the event of a successful medical negligence claim. If your medical negligence solicitor failed to get you a compensation payout for your missed radius fracture claim, yet your claim was valid, you would not be required to pay the success fee. To find out whether you could make a claim with a No Win No Fee medical negligence lawyer, you can call our team for a free assessment of your case.
To begin a compensation claim for a missed fracture of the radius, you would first need to know whether you would be eligible for compensation. If you would like free advice on whether you could claim or would like to be connected to a personal injury solicitor that could help you with your claim, why not call Medical Negligence Assist on 0800 652 3087. We could provide you with answers to questions surrounding missed radius fracture claims, and we could also offer a free no-obligation assessment of your case. If you prefer us to get in touch with you, instead of calling us, you could fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. We’d be happy to help you. Or, you could simply use the live chat feature below.
How Much Could My Claim Be Worth – Calculating medical negligence compensation is covered in this guide.
Claim Against Your GP – If your GP is negligent and you suffer avoidable harm because of their negligence, this guide could offer some useful information.
Fractures And Manipulation – Here, you can see information from NHS West Suffolk surrounding the manipulation of forearm fractures.
NICE – Fracture Management – This page shows the NICE guidelines for fracture diagnosis and treatment.
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Written by Jo
Edited by LisM