Hope girl's pain after broken arm was not diagnosed

Published date: 22 January 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A FATHER-OF-THREE has hit out after his daughter's broken arm went unnoticed by medical staff despite an x-ray.

Six-year-old Lily Denby from Hope was originally taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s emergency department in June last year after hurting her arm while playing in the front room with her twin brother Harri.

But after an x-ray and a four-and-a-half-hour wait, Lily was sent home by doctors who said she only had soft tissue damage.

After the diagnosis, her father Darren, 46, allowed Lily to continue her active lifestyle, which includes regular swimming and playing football for Llay United FC.

Although the young Ysgol Estyn pupil occasionally complained of pain in her arm, the fact she had broken it was not discovered until two months later, when she broke the same arm again after falling while playing on a log in a play area in Gresford in August.

On the second visit, medical staff at the Maelor’s emergency department found she had broken her arm and also uncovered the previous fracture after it was found to have refractured.

Mr Denby, who works in Wrexham, complained to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) via the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council (CHC), but has accused the health board of making excuses.

In its response the health board apologised for failing to identify the initial fracture but said it believed it didn’t contribute to her second arm injury.

Mr Denby said: “We went to A&E in June and we were in there for quite a few hours and she was sent home with a diagnosis of soft tissue damage.

“It seemed pretty busy in there and we waited around for an hour-and-a-half before she had an x-ray.

“They then spent five minutes with us later on and said it was soft tissue damage.

“Not long after I let her go swimming but she had to come out as she was in discomfort – but I naturally trusted the doctors.

“A lot of the time over the next few months she was in pain when she was putting her top on.

“We went the second time after she fell off the log and the nurse said ‘that looks broken to me’.

“They x-rayed her arm and x-rayed it in exactly the same place and said ‘we’re not happy with this’ so carried out a further x-ray

“She was in casualty all night and the doctors said it was broken and it was also broken the first time – so I got them to write a letter to confirm it.”

Mr Denby wrote a complaint to BCUHB via the CHC on October 1, but he did not receive a response until last Monday – more than three months later.

“They took months to reply,” said Mr Denby.

“They haven’t explained to me why the second time was different. They were brilliant the second time.

“They mention about not being eligible for compensation but this is not about trying to get compensation.

“I want a proper acknowledgement and I want reassurance that this won’t happen again.”

In her response to Mr Denby, Angela Hopkins, BCUHB executive director of nursing, said: “Having investigated this concern, the health board is satisfied that there is no qualifying liability within the definition provided by the regulations as Lily was treated appropriately for her presenting condition at that time.

“However we would like to apologise that Lily did suffer a fracture in her arm which was not identified as she did not show any signs of this at her initial presentation to the emergency department.

“Miss Rae (consultant in emergency medicine) is confident that Lily not receiving treatment for this fracture did not contribute to her subsequent injury.”

In a statement yesterday, a BCUHB spokesman said: “Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on individual cases.

“However, we can confirm that a concern has been received via the Community Health Council, which has been investigated and a response sent.

“We are sorry to learn that Mr Denby is unhappy with this response and we would be more than happy to meet with him to discuss his concerns further.”

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