Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

NHS Lothian apologises after medics failed to diagnose hip fracture

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Hospital bosses have apologised to a patient after medics failed to diagnose a fractured hip.

The man spent four days in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh after complaining of back and leg pain.

But it was only when he returned to hospital weeks later that they discovered he had a pathological hip fracture and advanced prostate cancer. He later had hip replacement surgery.

NHS Lothian said it had learned lessons from the incident.

The case has been highlighted in a report by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) after the man complained.

Inadequate investigations

It said the man - named Mr C by the SPSO - initially went to accident and emergency with his symptoms.

He was assessed by an on-call orthopaedic doctor and an X-ray was performed, before he was admitted to an orthopaedic ward from which he was discharged four days later.

The SPSO said: "Weeks later, Mr C returned to hospital and a hip X-ray was performed.

"Investigations over the following days identified that Mr C had a pathological hip fracture and advanced prostate cancer.

"Mr C underwent a hip replacement procedure and was referred to the uro-oncology service."

During their investigation, the ombudsman found that NHS Lothian were unable to provide in-patient orthopaedic notes for Mr C's first admission, other than a summary of ward rounds.

'Learned lessons'

"We found that the investigations performed following Mr C's initial presentation to the board were inadequate," the SPSO added.

"We found that a hip examination and hip X-ray should have been performed given the examination findings. We considered it was likely that the failings in this case led to a delay for hip replacement surgery, during which time Mr C continued to suffer pain from the condition."

The ombudsman ordered NHS Lothian to apologise to Mr C for the failure to examine and investigate his hip and for poor record-keeping.

Prof Alex McMahon, executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professionals at NHS Lothian, said: "I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again and publicly to Mr C.

"We fully accept the ombudsman recommendations and have completed the actions that were identified by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman , this includes ensuring the management of clinical records is appropriate, and making sure relevant examinations and X-rays are carried out in a timely manner, particularly when pain is preventing a person's mobility.

"NHS Lothian takes all complaints very seriously and has learned lessons from this issue."

Story provided by local democracy reporter David Bol.

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