Failure to Recognize Fracture Causes Permanent Injury


Orthopedic Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Connecticut and involves a female patient who presented to the defendant with pain and swelling in one of the joints of her left middle finger due to blunt injury. The patient first presented to the defendant several days after the initial injury with notable swelling on the joint in question. To assess the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, the defendant ordered multiple X-rays.  The defendant diagnosed the patient with a sprained finger, and instructed her to move it as little as possible. Some time later, after experiencing increased pain in the joint, the patient went for a second opinion with another orthopedist. This orthopedist took another set of X-rays of both hands, at which point he noticed a fracture in the left middle finger. The patient was referred to a hand surgeon who informed her that since the injury was fairly old, it was too late to operate on the hand. The patient currently has decreased range of motion and chronic pain in the injured finger.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely treat patients similar to the one described in the case? Please explain.
  • 2. Do you believe this patient may have had a better outcome if the care rendered had been different?
  • 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above?
  • 4. Have you ever been the target of a malpractice claim? If so, did the claim involve a failure / delay in diagnosing a fracture?

Expert Witness Response E-007396

I routinely treat patients with the type of injury described in your case. I completed hand surgery training in both trauamatic handsurgery and rheumatoid hand surgery, which renders me capable of assisting on this matter. I believe that the outcome could have been better for this patient if the correct treatment was rendered in a timely fashion. I have never served as an expert witness on a similar case, nor have I ever been sued for malpractice on a related issue (failing to diagnose or treat a fracture).

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