A fracture can impact any bone in the human body, including the smaller bones in the hand, feet and face and the larger bones of the arms and legs. Doctors must understand how to treat their patients and help them recovery after an injury. If the physician neglects to thoroughly explain the condition to a patient and the fracture doesn’t heal or breaks again, the courts can find the doctor guilty of negligence and malpractice.
What is a Fracture?
A fracture is a type of break that occurs in one or more bones. Before determining a course of treatment, the doctor will examine x-rays taken of the break to identify if it is a minor hairline fracture or a more series break. Small breaks may only require a cast that immobilizes the bone and keeps it stable until the fracture heals. Some breaks may require surgical intervention. Surgery allows the doctor to use surgical pins that hold the broken pieces of the bone together.
Causes of Bone Fractures
Bone fractures can occur during a car accident, an accident on the sports field or court or from regular play. A child running around outside who slips and falls may land awkwardly and fracture his or her leg. Children have bones that are still growing and developing, which leaves the bones susceptible to breaks. The elderly also have a high risk of developing fractures. As their bones are more brittle, they can break their bones from slipping and falling in the bathtub or falling a short flight of stairs.
Complications from Fractures
Uneven growth or development is one of the most serious complications from a fracture. A child who breaks his or her leg at a young age can fracture or shatter the growth plate, which can result in one leg being slightly longer than the other leg. Nerve damage is another potential side effect. This often occurs when the fracture remains immobilized for an extended period. A cast placed on the bone can put strain and pressure on the nerve and keep it from functioning properly. Blood clots, pneumonia, and arthritis, are other examples of complications that may arise after a fracture.
Examples of Negligence
Doctors must explain to patients what they can and cannot do until their injuries heal. If the physician does not do so, the patient may file a negligence lawsuit. This might include a patient who does not attend physical therapy to strengthen the damage later because the doctor did not suggest physical therapy. Negligence may also involve physicians who do not use the right treatments. For example, the doctor might transition a patient to a walking cast before the bone finishes the early stage of the healing process, which can lead to the patient breaking his or her bone again.
Working with an Attorney
Patients interested in filing a negligence lawsuit must look for attorneys in their areas who specialize in medical malpractice and similar cases. A good lawyer will do research into the background of the doctor and determine if he or she has a history of similar behaviors. Physicians who exhibit a pattern of negligence may find themselves part of a larger case that involves multiple former patients. Those patients also have the right to settle cases before going to trial, which can help doctors retain their reputations and help patients receive compensation for the complications that arose after suffering a fracture.