What is a fracture?
A fracture is a broken bone. A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways (crosswise, lengthwise, in multiple pieces). Bones are rigid, but they do bend or 'give' somewhat when an outside force is applied. However, if the force is too great, the bones will break.
The severity of a fracture usually depends on the force that caused the break. If the bone's breaking point has been exceeded only slightly, then the bone may crack rather than break all the way through. If the force is extreme, such as in a car accident or in a very serious sports injury, the bone may shatter.
If the bone breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin or a wound penetrates down to the broken bone, the fracture is called an 'open' fracture. This type of fracture is particularly serious because once the skin is broken, infection in both the wound and the bone can occur.
Common types of fractures
Stable fracture - The broken ends of the bone line up and are barely out of place.
Open, compound fracture - The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound.
Transverse fracture - This type of fracture has a horizontal fracture line.
Oblique fracture - This type of fracture has an angled pattern.
Comminuted fracture - In this type of fracture, the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
How does a fracture affect you?
Many fractures are very painful and may prevent you from moving the injured area. Other common symptoms include swelling and tenderness around the injury, bruising and deformity.
Diagnosing a fracture - The most common way to evaluate a fracture is with x-rays, which provide clear images of bone. Your doctor should use an x-ray to verify the diagnosis. X-rays can show whether a bone is intact or broken. They can also show the type of fracture and exactly where it is located within the bone.
Treatment for fractures
The type of treatment depends on the kind of fracture and the specific bones involves, treatment can include:
Casting - After the broken bones have been manipulated back into their proper positions, a plaster or fibreglass cast is applied to keep the bones from moving while they heal.
External fixation - Pins or wires are set into the bone through the skin above and below the fracture. These are connected to a ring or a bar outside the skin that holds the pins in place. After the bones have healed, the pins are removed.
Internal fixation - During surgery, metal rods, wires, or screws are inserted in the bone fragments to keep them together.
Fractures usually heal in about four to six weeks, but some can take several months or more depending on the extent of the injury, the medical attention provided and whether suitable rehabilitation is provided.
Daily living - Due to a break or fracture, you may no longer be able to live completely independently, it is likely that you will require medical treatment and rehabilitation and you may have suffered emotionally. You may also have had to change where you work and stop certain activities due to the misdiagnosis.This is why it is important to seek legal advice if you believe you have been misdiagnosed when suffering from a broken or fractured bone and you think somebody else may be at fault. For example, it may be that an X-Ray was required but not performed.
Here at Stephensons, we have a dedicated team of medical negligence solicitors who have many years experience of handling a variety of misdiagnosis claims. Our priority is to investigate how your injury occurred and to obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible to enable you to return to independent living.
When valuing your claim, our specialist solicitors will argue for the cost of any care, medical treatment/rehabilitation, specialist equipment and even possible adaptations to your property that you may require. They will also argue for any past or future lost earnings if you are unable to continue in your employment whether it be temporary or for the foreseeable future. In some cases we can secure an early payment of compensation to enable you to have important rehabilitation or medical treatment whilst your claim is ongoing.