To feel like a failure in not spotting my DS's broken finger earlier?

(57 Posts)
JohFlow Tue 30-Jul-13 17:22:01

On the last day of term my son came back from school and said that during a football match he had dived for the ball (as goalie) and a friend had landed on top of his hand. I looked at the hand and it looked swollen but presumed it was just bruised. A few days later the bruising went black and I became more concerned but something came to mind that 'you should wait till the bruising subsides a little before having it checked'. This I did. Finger could be moved and my son did not seem in pain apart from the first day. When the bruising started to dissapate - it was much clearer that his finger was deformed.

I have just spend two days in the hospital having it checked out. I have been told that repair is easier in the first 7 days before the bone starts to knit together again shortly after. My DS has signs of some re-setting in the wrong position.

He has to have an operation tomorrow to put everything back in line.

Feel that my slow reactions have complicated things. sad

You weren't to know. If he'd been screaming in agony for days and you'd ignored it, that would be a different story but from what you've said he wasn't. Don't beat yourself up.

HSMMaCM Tue 30-Jul-13 17:26:16

Don't worry about it. It's so easy to miss these things. I have missed a few with my DD over the years.

Beastofburden Tue 30-Jul-13 17:28:26

Meh ds2 broke his wrist at school and they didn't notice for a whole day. You are not a doctor, how are you supposed to tell, if there is no pain?

Worse things happen, if he has a little op it's not the end of the world.

AnythingNotEverything Tue 30-Jul-13 17:29:07

Fingers are tricky. Don't beat yourself up. I'd have done the same.

thebody Tue 30-Jul-13 17:31:23

don't this totally happened to my dd while she was playing with dh, he accidentally landed in her hand.

it was a bit sore, a bit swollen and waited 3 days to go to A/E. 2 fingers were broken but had reset I'm a slightly bent position. one doc said operate, other not to bother as not so bad.

opted to not. her fingers are a bit bent but not overtly.

we still feel awful and I am a qualified nurse.

you do your best don't you. sometimes it doesn't always go the right way.

thefuturesnotourstosee Tue 30-Jul-13 17:35:16

My dad and step mum once failed to spot that my collar bone was broken despite me screaming out in pain almost everytime I moved for 10 days. Step mum told me I'd bumped myself and to stop whinging. never did like her glad dad no longer with her cow bag

It was only when I went home to my mum that she spotted it after about 5 minutes.

Seriously though its so easy to mistake it for something else you're not a failure. If you were an orthopedic surgeon I'd be more concerned but presumably you're not grin

LilacPeony Tue 30-Jul-13 17:36:13

This happened with my dd. I phoned NHS direct and they said that as she was able to bend her finger it was unlikely to be broken. The next day she was saying it hurt a bit rather a lot and she also attempted to climb monkey bars the next day. [confused) We found out about 6 weeks later after an x ray that it had been fractured, but to late to do anything by then. It has a nobbly bit on it, but it doesn't cause her any problems.

I missed dd2's broken collar bone - had no idea, she was only 2, complaining her neck was sore. Even the GP missed it, said something was wrong but not sure what. She had rolled off the sofa, but hadn't said it hurt until the next morning by which time I didn't link the two. It was the morning after that when we finally realised what it was.

LilacPeony Tue 30-Jul-13 17:37:55

a bit rather than a lot I mean. A GP also said it was unlikely to be broken as she could bend it when she saw it afterwards

NotYoMomma Tue 30-Jul-13 17:46:51

my mum told me not to skive when I broke my hand and left it a week in pain! over a week in fact

she only started to believe me when we went furniture shopping and I sat on a white sofa and she was like 'your hand is black!!!'

I was all hmm duh I told you it was broken.

I then only had to sneeze to get a day off school wink

NotYoMomma Tue 30-Jul-13 17:48:51

I always take the piss now though - like 'mum remeber the time you thought a broken bone equalled instant paralysis?'

Mum, remember when I told you I broke my hand and you didnt believe me? well now is one of those 'im not even lying' times

Whothefuckfarted Tue 30-Jul-13 17:59:38

I fell off a slide at the park when I was about 6 and broke my collarbone and the doctor who came to my house to look at it told my mum there was nowt wrong and I was just putting it on.

Needless to say she got a 2nd opinion. Don't beat yourself up.

Canidae Tue 30-Jul-13 18:04:02

My friend's mum broke her ankle and didn't realise for a week! If he was screaming in pain and you ignored him then YABU but unless you have x-ray eyes how would you know?

JohFlow Tue 30-Jul-13 18:07:59

Thank you all for that. It re-assures me a little that finding a break is sometimes not an exact science. It seems that there is still a 'myth' out there that if things can be moved then they cannot be broken. In my son's case it is the end of his lower knuckle that had been broken - so the knuckle space was largely unaffected; so movement was possible. I also had the feeling that something extra was 'wrong' but could not 'see' what that was until the swelling had gone down. Wish I had acted on instinct - in hindsight (guess I take that forward should anything happen later - fingers crossed it won't - excuse the pun! smile). I just hope that we can get a good, straight result with the operation now.

JohFlow Tue 30-Jul-13 18:10:21

grin x -ray eyes. I wonder if that little Russian girl who claims to have x-ray vision would have seen it?

Silverlace Tue 30-Jul-13 18:26:35

I feel better now after reading the number of missed broken collar bones. My DS aged 4 ran round for 2 days with a broken collarbone before I thought I had better get him checked just to reassure me nothing was wrong.

These things happen.

Caster8 Tue 30-Jul-13 18:34:04

For me, one of the worst things about parenting was knowing whether to consult a doctor or not. And when.
I found that when they are babies, it was fairly easy. Go to the doctor if worried. I was told by a doctor that doctors are always more than wiling to listen to concerns of parents, as they too do not want to have the loss of a child on their hands.

When children are older, decisions are more difficult imo. As others have said, it is not an exact science.

Thanks for the thread. As you say, broken bones or not is hard if not impossible for a parent to make a judgement call on.

2old2beamum Tue 30-Jul-13 18:48:34

I am a paediatric nurse/midwife and made DD hobble on a broken foot for 24 hours blush What a cocky bitch!!

pointythings Tue 30-Jul-13 18:48:42

Perfectly normal - I have managed to break my nose, a rib, my patella, 4 fingers, my big toe and a metatarsal, all without being immediately diagnosed. I was lucky, no displacement, just a lot of pain. As a competitive fencer I was sort of used to pain so thought nothing of it. blush

So far we have been cautious with the DDs though, especially since they do a lot of sport.

JohFlow Thu 01-Aug-13 12:25:49

Thank you all for that.

Son had to have manipulation of the knuckle under anaesthetic. Back in place now and bound to his ring finger. Still looks odd and having it checked by consultant again next week. Hope that it sets straight. Feel better now that the professionals have provided treatment. Think he has found it easier to deal with than I.

SelectAUserName Thu 01-Aug-13 12:32:44

Glad it's on the mend OP. I once broke my finger playing netball and the fracture wasn't immediately picked up on an x-ray, so even the professionals with diagnostic equipment don't get it right first time every time.

SalaciousBCrumb Thu 01-Aug-13 12:34:56

I broke my own finger and it took me a week to realise, and that was with me going "oooowwwwwwwwwwwww!" every time I tried to move it. blush

My little brother smashed my fingers in the heavy back door in a temper when I was 12. It hurt, but after the swelling appeared it was just uncomfortable. My mum didn't take me to get seen for days, they just looked badly bruised, and I could move them. They were broken! I was surprised they didn't hurt more.

Fingers are tricky, don't beat yourself up OP.

guiltyconscience Thu 01-Aug-13 12:41:01

Don't feel a failure I am a childrens staff nurse and I didn't realise my dd1 had broken her arm so what does that say about me hey!lol

freddiefrog Thu 01-Aug-13 12:43:04

I wouldn't feel too bad, I broke my own wrist without realising.

I was messing about on a zipwire with my kids and fell off. I only fell about a foot at the most, into a muddy puddle. The only thing hurt at the time was my pride and new jacket.

A few days later my wrist was unbearably painful and popped into the walk in minor injury unit to discover I'd broken my wrist.

MummytoMog Thu 01-Aug-13 12:45:15

I broke my big toe and was told I couldn't possibly have broken it, or I wouldn't be able to walk on that foot. Really? A week later it got crunched back into place rather painfully in A and E and strapped up for six weeks. Plus side to this - my bunion on that side disappeared. Down side to this - it aches to buggery in damp weather.

ShabbyButNotChic Thu 01-Aug-13 12:54:24

Dont worry, fingers are difficult. I used to do a lot of dance and broke a couple of fingers, and probably all my toes at some point. Mostly i didnt realise ut was broken not sprained until a couple of days later as they didnt look deformed or anything. It got to the point my mum would just strap them up a thats all they did at docs/hospital anyway. They are all fully functioning now smile
I also broke my wrist when i fell out of a tree aged 8, i didnt even cry at the time, and didnt suspect serious damage as it didnt hurt as much as i thought it would if it had broke. Until i woke up with a mahoosive wrist/hand a couple if days later.

I think unles they are really dramatic breaks and fractures are really quite easy to miss.

GhostsInSnow Thu 01-Aug-13 12:58:58

Dont worry, its easily done.

DD (15) hobbled around for 3 weeks with a fractured kneecap. Even our GP thought it was pulled ligaments. It only showed up on a precautionary x ray 3 weeks later.
DD still ribs me over it now and says she'll tell Social Services all about me blush

Tigresswoods Thu 01-Aug-13 13:01:44

My brother dragged himself around the house for 3 days with a broken knee (he was 18) before my dad took him to have it looked at.

softlysoftly Thu 01-Aug-13 13:45:30

God no collarone here too mum made me finish a show jumping round with mine smashed and then waited 2 days until dad thought they should take action.

Ditto broken arm with dsis.

It's right of passage and will give him something to hold against ti as an adult like we do grin

EssexGurl Thu 01-Aug-13 13:47:30

My wedding ring finger is bent. When I was about 5 we had friends over and were all playing sleeping lions. One of the lads stood on my hand. My mum and boys mum both swore blind it was fine. Never went to hospital and now wonky. A least you have got him sorted!!!

JohFlow Wed 07-Aug-13 16:01:35

So update - DS now been seen by 4 consultants. His knuckled clicked back out of place during the healing process. Doctors are unable to do the manual positioning again as the bone has already started knitting into place. Without further surgery; his finger will be permanently deformed - but its function would be preserved. The other option is for a wire to be fitted through the bone. This would result in a straighter finger; but there would be less function and he may not be able to create a fist with his finger bent. There would also be scarring as the finger will need to be opened twice.Seems like not much of a choice.

What would you opt for?

FairPhyllis Wed 07-Aug-13 17:11:12

Hm. What does he want? I think I would go for keeping the function - will the finger still have the strength it would have had otherwise? Is it his dominant hand? Does he play any instrument that he would struggle with in either scenario?

Don't feel bad for having not spotted it - I broke a finger playing netball at school and the A&E junior doctor sent me home saying it wasn't broken - then we got a phone call from the consultant saying he'd seen the X-ray and actually it was broken.

Scarring on fingers is an issue to think about - I also have scarring all along the nearside of my right index finger (long story) and it is actually a huge pain in the neck because you use that surface of that finger an awful lot - I find it much harder to do things like open bottles or anything where you exert pressure using that part of the finger or knuckle, because the scar tissue is quite sensitive.

JohFlow Wed 28-Aug-13 13:03:04

Hi Fair,

Apologies for not responding earlier - just seen your post now.

Have gone for function over straightness. He is strapped up for the next two weeks and will be seen by consultant again at 6 weeks (at my request).

Not dominant hand. So no concerns with writing etc.

Had not thought of the scar-rubbing scenario but that totally makes sense and makes me think that I have made a good decision now.

Thank you for your post x

happilyconfused Wed 28-Aug-13 15:03:53

Guilty as charged. DS ended up having an op on his finger to insert a k-wire. He of course points out that he was in pain for a couple of days before I eventually got round to anything about it.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 28-Aug-13 15:33:14

Friends of ours failed to realise their DD had broken her leg after falling off her bike. Kissed it better and told her it would be ok in the morning. Which it wasn't, so they took her to A & E.

They are both doctors at the hospital they took her to, (Dad is an orthopedic surgeon) felt very embarrassed explaining to colleagues that they'd just kissed it better.

Don't worry, I'm sure it happens all the time. Hope your son's finger mends quickly now.

Lilypiesmum Sun 13-Apr-14 20:40:51

I've just searched broken fingers on here, pleased I did as I'm feeling a little better now. DDs finger got trapped in a door at school 2 weeks ago, it only hurt her that day, so I just put ice on it and gave her calpol. She's not complained since, but we noticed it was still swollen and bent in funny position. Trip to A&E confirmed it is broken but has set in an odd position. I'm gutted sad hoping they can reset it, but they've said as there's plenty of movement they won't do much!

Lauren83 Tue 15-Apr-14 19:34:14

Story that really upsets my mum everytime it comes up... I was 2/3 and out Xmas shopping, I had new shoes on and whinged all day about my feet, my mum dragged me round for hours and when we got home a nail had gone through my shoe and into my foot my sick was soaked with blood, she still feels guilty to this day, it happens!

Tiredemma Tue 15-Apr-14 19:36:41

we did this. Ds1 had a broken thumb for about two weeks before we took him to A&E.

RunnerBeen Tue 15-Apr-14 19:38:48

My sister had a broken arm for about five days before my mother decided she wasn't just milking it and took her to hospital. Don't feel too guilty grin

MrsDavidBowie Tue 15-Apr-14 19:40:42

Guilty here too.
Ds fell off a climbing frame when he was 2 ata friend's house.

Two days later he said his shoulder hurt....broken collarbone.

thebodydoestricks Tue 15-Apr-14 19:44:23

Same happened to my dd. I am a trained nurse. grin

It's life. Don't beat yourself up. Far far worse happens at sea.

zobey Wed 16-Apr-14 20:40:14

Dh was walking round and digging holes (his job) for 6 weeks plus with a broken foot. Not just once though but three times in a year and a bit.

Mitzi50 Wed 16-Apr-14 20:50:54

I sent my daughter to school with a broken foot - in my defence she hadn't had an accident (but had fallen out of her bed) and was walking around with only a slight limp. Even the doctor at A & E said she didn't think the foot was broken and only did the x ray as a precaution.

canyou Wed 16-Apr-14 20:51:28

If it makes you feel better
Both my Ddad and DP are paramedics

Dad left me with a broken wrist for a week apparently it was all in my headhmm
Dad told me sit down next to him and have a hug after he ignored my projectile vomiting blood for an hr as I only had migraine. Fortunately an A&E Dr diagnosed meningitis and treated me
Dp refused to believe I was in labour, ask two of his colleagues who were returning to base to pop in and tell me cop myself on Dd was born in the back of their ambulanceblush blush We live 8 min from the maternity unitconfused
I am in bed with hay fever/ cold vomiting from the cough Dp and the Dr he is overseas with have prescribed hot brandy and port with two paracetamol and an antihistamine. Yeah the DC will be fine will I get drunk/stonedhmm

Hope you feel better and have somewine your DR will survive and drag the tale of parental neglect out for the -- rest of his life-- next week

My DS hurt his thumb playing rugby on the Wednesday. I sent him to school on the Thursday. On the Friday he played benchball and injured the same thumb

The school phoned me to take him to the walk in Polyclinic.
I was hmm but did it and had to explain at reception that he's had 2 injuries.

He'd fractured it.
He was gloating at my obvious neglect (and still does) grin
I was blush

NHS Podiatrist <<for shame>>

almondcakes Wed 16-Apr-14 21:03:32

Do not worry. DD broke her finger, had it xrayed, was told it was not broken. Then I got a letter from the hospital a week later saying the xray had been reviewed, it was broken and to bring her back in. So these things can't be that easy to spot!

Nocomet Wed 16-Apr-14 21:04:40

I've a nasty feeling DD has done something similar to one of her fingers, it won't quite straighten, but she did it several weeks ago so I doubt theirs much point worrying.

She does have previous for going to sleep with both bones in her wrist broken clean through.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 16-Apr-14 21:08:53

I think it happens a lot. Friends of ours failed to notice for two days that their son had broken his arm. The mum is a nurse, the dad is an orthopaedic surgeon. They had to explain to colleagues that they hadn't noticed. (But they had kissed it better a few times smile)

I'm sure the operation will go well and your son will be fine soon.

ExCinnamon Wed 16-Apr-14 21:13:25

Don't feel bad, I had this twice.
Both times dc broke fingers at school. First dc I even sent to piano lesson blush
Second dc: got a call from school to pick him up because he had been sick.
After picking up he seemed fine and hours later told me he felt sick again because the pain in his finger was back. ? Finger?
Broken.

minniem Wed 16-Apr-14 21:26:11

I have broken many a finger over the years. Some where not apparent for a few days but they are fine now.

DS15 has had a few finger breaks(cricket), they seem to have healed well.

NobodyLivesHere Wed 16-Apr-14 22:03:09

My dd walked round with a sewing needle embedded in her foot for 2 days...she came to me crying that her foot hurt, I looked, couldn't see anything, so gave her calpol, she complained a bit but was fine at school, it wasnt til she got in the bath and her foot was swollen that I took her to a&e, even the doctors were looking at me like a neurotic lunatic until the X-ray came back :/
An operation and 20+ stitches later she was fine!

Preciousbane Wed 16-Apr-14 22:49:52

My arm became dislocated at the elbow, it had happened once before a couple of years previously.

My Mother could not be bothered to take me to the hospital so in the kitchen scullery with sun streaming through the window, I can still see all the teeny bits of dust floating about in it. She pushed my dislocated arm back together, it was bloody agony.

Now that is negligence, don't you dare feel bad about it, you sound like a nice and lovely Mum.

ResponsibleAdult Wed 16-Apr-14 23:00:38

Easiy mistake to make. You've done nothing wrong.

DP has broken his arm, sporting injury, and none of us spotted it.

I have broken at different times nose, ribs, collar bone (clumsy) and didn't spot it.

Daughter broke both arms, only spotted one of them for the first week. Second at check up, sporting injury.

Only time we guessed correctly was when DS broke both arms, sporting injury, and couldn't get up off the ground attention seeker , joking grin

Hmm, perhaps we should give up sport in this house [sceptical] oh, and BTW, one of us is medically trained confused. No one has x ray eyes.

sunshinecity17 Thu 12-Jun-14 11:34:52

'My arm became dislocated at the elbow, it had happened once before a couple of years previously.

My Mother could not be bothered to take me to the hospital so in the kitchen scullery with sun streaming through the window, I can still see all the teeny bits of dust floating about in it. She pushed my dislocated arm back together, it was bloody agony.'

To be fair 'pulled elbows' often do pop in again quite easily.I remember my brother's used to do this all the time.Oftn by the time we had got to A&E it had popped itself back in, so eventually my mum used to just push it back in.It's a very run of the mill thing.i don't think your mum was neglectful

CorusKate Thu 12-Jun-14 12:33:02

The other thing with dislocations is that the sooner you get it back in, the better. Hospitals often have you waiting for bloody hours.

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