Negligent Treatment of Broken Bones
When you break a bone, it will usually start to heal straight away. A bone is a living tissue, and given time a fractured bone will heal itself. It is important however that the bone heals in the correct position.
When a patient is diagnosed with a fracture, a doctor will try to reduce a patient’s pain and make them as comfortable as possible until the fracture heals. They should also take steps to manage the fracture in such a way that allows joint movement to be regained as best as possible.
If the bone is misaligned the doctor will have to decide whether to treat the fracture conservatively such as in plaster or carry out surgery or some form of manipulation of the bone to realign it.
When deciding the most appropriate treatment option the doctor will have to take into account a number of different factors in addition to the nature and severity of the fracture. For example your age and general health will be an important factor. Patients who are old or frail may not be able to undergo an anaesthetic or surgery. Other patients will be able to undergo surgery.
The same fracture may therefore be treated differently depending on the health and circumstances of the person who has suffered the fracture.
The doctor has a duty to discuss each treatment option with you, explaining the usual risks and benefits of each, so that you can be involved in making the decision of how to treat the fracture and can properly consent to any treatment going forward.
If the doctor fails to discuss the treatment options with you fully then you may have a claim for compensation.
A fracture will often require no medical intervention whatsoever if the bones that have fractured are in alignment.
In many cases, the fractured bone can be held in the correct position by methods such as a plaster cast or sling.
Also, some fractures will be deliberately left untreated. Fractures of small bones (such as toes) or ribs often do not need medical intervention, as they will heal on their own.