"My son's break misdiagnosed, and he was sent home in pain"

About: Leicester Royal Infirmary / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a parent/guardian),

My young son went to the Leicester Royal A&E department last week with really bad pain in his arm after a accident in a child's ball pit. He had an x-ray done after waiting a very long time.

The results came back that he had suffered a severe break to the upper arm on his right side. (Bare in mind, he was screaming with the pain.)

The nurse had told us that he may either need a cast putting on or a operation for the break to be pinned into place. She then contacted the orthopaedic doctor to come and look at his x-ray and his opinion was that it would heel on it's own and all that was needed was a sling. The nurse before had said she had never seen a break like this before in a child. She also said this is a break that is mainly seen in older people and not children.

The next day, I received a phone call from the fracture clinic saying my son needed to come back to the hospital immediately to have a cast put on his arm before it sets into place. I was also told he shouldn't really have been sent home without a cast put on his arm.

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Response from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Hi shazza251189, I'm really sorry to hear about your experience.

I have already asked a senior nurse to look into this after I was alerted to your concerns earlier today via the local health reporter. I hope to be in a position to provide a fuller answer for you tomorrow.

Update posted by shazza251189 (a parent/guardian)

Thankyou very much. I was more concerned that because it was a serious brake and also how he got sent home without any pain killers or anything just a rubber sling. He has been to the hospital twice the first time they sent him home and then the next time they rang and he needed a cast putting on and not once did he or we see a doctor.

I just want to make the hospitals aware that cases like this are terrible. I now have a 6 year old in absolute agony. Also with the weight of the plaster as they have put a clump of plaster on his elbow to pull the bone down he is unstable so simple things as sitting on a chair he cant do without falling over his fell down the stairs aswell since this has been put on. All of the pain and discomfort he is in and I still have to wait until Monday to know what will happen next. I think it is disgusting and something needs to change. Thankyou anyway for taking the time to read this everyone.

Response from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Thank you for providing your feedback.

It seems like we haven't done a very good job of explaining your son's treatment to you.

The cast is to provide weight to the arm to assist the healing process, the fracture itself is not cast. The sling he went home in from ED was clinically appropriate and it was normal for him to be reviewed in our virtual clinic the following morning, that is when the consultant recommended the cast. I believe your son had that cast fitted at the Fracture Clinic later that day, again it is normal for a cast to be fitted by the specialist technicians in the Fracture Clinic.

I'm sure this has been very unsettling for your family and upsetting for you to see your son in pain. If you would like to talk to us, to go through your concerns, explain the clinical treatment or liaise with the medical team please contact our Patient Information and Liaison Service who will be able to help you, free phone line: 08081 788337 http://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/patients/patient-welfare/patient-information-and-liaison-service/

I hope your son's recovery runs smoothly.

Update posted by shazza251189 (a parent/guardian)

So you are telling me my son's visit to the hospital on 2 occasions and not even seeing one doctor is normal? If this is what you say is normal, then we have 2 different opinions. I personally think it is disgusting to send a child home saying it will heal on its' own and that is normal when it is clearly broken. I also find it disgusting how a doctor never came to look at my son and therefore judge that he will be fine with nothing more than a sling. He was given no pain killers to bring home. Also we were told to take the sling off at night time so therefore we have a 6 year old with a broken arm with no support for it or pain killers and apparently this is normal!?

It's a good job my 6 year old thinks everything is ok. If only he knew that some doctors don't seem to care about children and their pain and how seriously this effects the family and the child. As for the cast or whatever you call it, the weight of it is making him lose his balance, he's falling over and he is still in a lot of pain with it. Yet we have to wait for Monday for an x-ray. I think it's outrageous to let a child continue like this for over a week.

Something needs to be done. I think that the doctor who just brushed him off needs further training. He needs to know that he should have at least come to see my son or even us and not just assume things.

I don't think this the right way to treat a 6 year old.