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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

*Should I make an official complaint or sue the NHS?*

(41 Posts)
simone123456789 Thu 13-Sep-12 21:54:56

My daughter hurt her leg whilst trampolining, she couldnt walk, I took her to the hospital (saturday) where many doctors and nurses examined my daughter. I was questioned about being a single first time mum and then told she was fine and to take her back in a few days if she wasnt any better. I then took my daughter back on the monday, she was given 2 lots of xrays first on her hip and top of he leg and then on her knee and bottom half of her leg. I was told her leg was fine and again was sent home. I then recieved a phone call from the hospital on the wednesday, it was the hospital calling to say that they had misread the xray and that infact my 3 year old daughter had fractured her leg. I took her straight back to the hospital and her leg was put in a temporary half cast. I was told to take her back the following monday for more xrays, I did so, my daughter was not given any more xrays and her leg was put in a full plaster. Since, many people have told me that I should make an official complaint or sue the hospital/nhs due to my daughter being left untreated for 5 days which could have made her injury worse. Does anyone think I have a case? Polite replies appreciated, thankyou.

You need to raise a complaint with the management of the hospital.

Hope your dd is on the mend soon.

intravenouscoffee Thu 13-Sep-12 21:59:26

Sorry your DD hurt her leg. If you do an online search for PALS you should find details of the procedure at your hospital. Or you can phone the hospital and they will be able to give you the details.

I do not think you should sue the NHS.

youonlysingwhenyourewinning Thu 13-Sep-12 22:00:57

I would make an official complaint, yes.

Unless there has been significant trauma or losses, I wouldn't sue.

Hope your dd is ok.

LostInWales Thu 13-Sep-12 22:02:12

Really (although as an NHS worker I suppose there is some bias) what you have discovered is that although there are expert staff working in A&E they don't believe they know everything so the x-rays will have been double checked by a specialist in reading x-rays, someone who does it day in and day out. Younger children's x-rays are particularly hard to read due to all the growth plates. It's not an exact science, hence x-rays being reviewed by others, I think you would be better placed looking at the good aspects of this, you saw A&E doctors, had specialists check the x-rays who called you back in and now your daughter is under specialist care of orthopaedic doctors who will monitor her until she is well.

I hope this makes sense, I'm trying to give you an idea of how it works and the checks and balances in place to make sure things aren't missed in the long term.

mellen Thu 13-Sep-12 22:03:23

Do you know if it did make the injury worse?
I think that at the very least you are entitled to an explanation of what happened and what effect that would have had, so that you can decide what to do next. It would be a shame if you had to make a formal complaint to get this explanation, but if it does take a complaint then I would make it.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Thu 13-Sep-12 22:03:52

You could make a compain't, but it is normal practice for the doctor who ordered the x-ray to review it initially and then for it to be reported on by a specialist (radiologist).

shrimponastick Thu 13-Sep-12 22:04:43

Ihad a similar thing happen to me as a child. I fractured my arm- had xrays - but was told it was fine.

My parents received a letter a week later stating that it was indeed fractured and that I was to go in for a plaster cast. I looked at the xrays myself when watiing to go back into the see the doctor - and could see the fracture line, but the doctor didn't? I was 12 at the time. My SF had the same with his ankle - same hospital.

However, my arm is fine. The llikelihood is that your DD leg will be fine. If it isn't then think about putting in a claim.

I would write to the hospital though so that your incident is on file -it may improve procedures.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Thu 13-Sep-12 22:05:49

A complaint, to sue is a step too far in this case imho.

simone123456789 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:09:28

Thank you for your replies I shall look up PALS. My daughter has suffered a lot of pain and has missed out on starting nursery where she is also undergoing speech therapy, due to her injury. Also, after feeling interegated my one of the doctors at the hospital about my parenting, I believe that they were more interested in finding out about me being a single mum rather than actually treating my daughter. Is that not neglegence toward my baby girl? and if so not also reason to sue? This is just out of curiosity, I will definately make a complaint though, Thank you.

cheekyginger Thu 13-Sep-12 22:14:26

(Im an NHS worker so i am a bit biased!!)

If its a hair line fracture it can be really difficult to see this on an xray until a few days later as it starts to calcify and then it can be seen. It very unlikely any harm would have come to your daughter....but if you are not happy then everyone has a right to complain (I had a hairline fracture of my foot that wasnt visible on the first x-ray).

A&E doctors have a hell of a job on their hands.......lets not become a suing nation!!

tazzle22 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:14:59

I am sorry your dd hurt her leg and I hope she feels better now.

It is notoriously difficult to spot some types of fracture and, as said above, particularily hard in young children. If there is doubt about an x ray then most staff ask for second opinion and if still doubting will treat as a fracture anyway. Sometimes it can be missed and later spotted by a specialist radiologist / consultant who sees far more x rays that the general doctors in a /e and can spot the difficult ones.

unless its a very obvious break that any junior doctor should have seen straight off then even a complaint is U imo

SapphireandFevertree Thu 13-Sep-12 22:16:01

I hope uour little girl is recovering well. I'm with lostinwales. I'm sorry that it got missed the first time but the reason X-rays are reviewed is to catch the ones that are missed. No one is infallible and that's how the system is set up.
If your daughters as come to no (additional) harm because of this I believe you would have no financial claim so I wouldn't sue.

youonlysingwhenyourewinning Thu 13-Sep-12 22:16:55

I think it's normal to question how an injury has happened and the circumstances around it. I actually think this is a good thing but I can totally understand why anyone would find it upsetting sad

I think you are possibly taking it a bit personally?

I don't think it's reason enough to sue, but I can't stand the 'blame' culture that we're living in at the moment, so admittedly, this clouds my judgement.

simone123456789 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:18:03

I completely understand that there are certain procedures and protocols for hospitals to undergo (lostinwales) however, whilst I was still at the hospital a specialist did in fact examine the xrays along with many other doctors. When I first took my daughter to the hospital she wasn't given an xray, it took 3 days for the hospital to even do that! The ward and a and e was not busy, we were the only people there and was seen straight away.
Im unsure as to whether the injury was made worse, as although I was told my daughter would have her leg re-xrayed, it was not. Im not asking about sueing because I am after money, I am just asking advice after being told by other professionals that this is what I should do.

youonlysingwhenyourewinning Thu 13-Sep-12 22:20:09

simone you say "Im not asking about sueing because I am after money"

If you're not after money, what is your motive?

intravenouscoffee Thu 13-Sep-12 22:21:18

The Dr you spoke to will have been asking you about being a single parent as it's important to get an idea of the family set up. Also, with all accidents it's important to get a full history of how the injury occurred so that other injuries aren't missed or child protection concerns overlooked. I took my DS to hospital with a head injury and was asked about who lived at home, who was there when it happened, if I saw it happen etc, etc. it wasn't interrogation, just a full assessment.

intravenouscoffee Thu 13-Sep-12 22:24:06

And if it didn't appear that your DDs leg was broken she wouldn't have been x rayed to avoid exposing her to the x rays unnecessarily. It's done to protect the health of your child, not because they were to busy or couldn't be bothered.

tazzle22 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:24:38

I think its a shame you feel that way op about the doctors equiries about your family status. I do empathise having had been questioned very closely when my DD had dislocated her elbow.. then again the scond time .. and referred on to SW when it happened a third time. BUT

actually I was glad really because although my DD proved to have lax ligaments and we were good parents........ very similar injuries occur with children being abused and yanked around by adults. Had it been left and we had been viscious adults much worse might have occurred.

IMO whilst its hard ........ professionals in the medical profession do tend to be aware that injured children might have non accidental injuries so do tend to ask questions about family cirumstances...... and not just of single parents.

simone123456789 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:25:27

And yes I understand why questions have to be made around the circumstances however, the treatment I at first received was absolutely disgusting. It is a break and not a hairline fracture. It wasn't the specialist that noticed it either it was a junior doctor. I think many other people would have taken this personally too when it concerns your child.

rosy71 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:26:01

My ds2 suffered a toddler fracture last year - he was also 3. The x-ray taken on the day it happened didn't show anything but they put him in plaster anyway. The following week x-rays showed the fracture. I think it's quite common for that to happen. They took ds out of plaster, then had to put another one on because it was painful which I was quite annoyed about at the time.

I don't think it would have made her injury worse being left for 5 days. Ds2 has since fractured his femur which made the first fracture pale into insignificance!!!

Sirzy Thu 13-Sep-12 22:26:16

They probably didn't X-ray initally as they don't like to x ray unless needed.

The important thing is that your daughter is now getting the treatment needed. Yes put in a written complaint if you feel procedures didnt work but I wouldn't even be thinking about suing.

Also it is normal practise for a and e to establish the family set up/history etc when a child comes up. It's not interrogating it's getting a background

rosy71 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:30:50

Where is the break? If it was broken, it would be very obvious on an x-ray, surely? It would also be very obvious something was wrong. Was she in pain? What was she like during the 5 days?

simone123456789 Thu 13-Sep-12 22:31:53

(youonlysingwhenyourwinning) No its not money, I have a well paid salary and am very comfortable thank you. My motive is to make them aware that other procedures should be put in place to make sure that the same thing doesnt happen again. In this day in age and with the technology we have, surely a fully qualified doctor should know whether a leg is broken or not?

vigglewiggle Thu 13-Sep-12 22:34:05

DD was admitted to hospital with pneumonia recently and I was asked all sorts of questions about who was at home, whether we had a social worker, where my husband was etc. I wouldn't read too much into it, it is standard questions they ask everyone.

Complain if you feel that your DD wasn't treated properly, but what do you want to achieve by suing the hospital?

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