Fracture Medical Negligence
Delay in Treating Fractures

Delay in Treating Fractures

If you have suffered complication because your fracture was not treated in a reasonable amount of time, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out more, contact us as soon as possible.

We are here to help you. To make your free, no obligation enquiry please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete a Quick Enquiry online now.

What is the time frame for treating fractures?

When a fracture occurs, it actually starts to heal there and then. Nevertheless, the fracture is still mobile for another two weeks. During that time, the alignment of the fracture can easily be altered for example, by external manipulation from a medical professional. It is important this realignment takes place, as it is very unlikely the bone will knit together in the correct place, leaving a patient with reduced anatomical function.

After two weeks the bone glue (otherwise known as a bone callus) begins to form. However, even at this stage it is still relatively easy to prize the bone apart, although a patient will need to be put under a general anaesthetic. By six weeks, the callus has formed to such an extent that the fracture will usually be united, although even then it is fairly straightforward to open the fracture and realign it.

Beyond six weeks, the fracture has really united and the new virgin bone has formed. At this stage the only way to realign the fracture is to formally re-fracture with a saw or (more commonly nowadays) with an osteome a surgical instrument used to cut bones.

Therefore in general terms, a fracture is best treated as soon as possible. But due to the mobility of the bone, a surgeon has up to three weeks to realign a fracture and not cause any long term functional compromise. Beyond three weeks there may be some small residual loss of range of movement although overall it is probable that anatomical alignment is achieved. By six weeks the bones ends are not so fresh and it is not easy to put the fresh ends or pieces back together as they were before the break.

What are the consequences of a delay in fracture treatment?

If treatment is withheld for any longer than six weeks, there is likely to be a gross malunion of the bone. This will result in two major consequences for the patient concerned:-

1. The patient will have significantly reduced functional compromise, and increased pain and suffering;

2. The patient will require extensive surgical intervention in order to realign the bone.

It is also possible that even with surgery a patient is unable to regain full function, leaving them to face a lifetime of complications.

Claiming for a delay in fracture treatment

If you have suffered complications such as those described above because doctors did not treat your fracture in a timely fashion, you need to talk to a solicitor. This is because it is very likely that you have been the victim of medical negligence, meaning you will be entitled to compensation for your damages.

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