Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

85 yr old w/broken Elbow - need advice

Posted In: Medical Errors 3 Replies
  • Posted By: BonnieO
  • March 2, 2008
  • 00:58 AM

My 85 year old mom fell this week. When I got to the hospital where the ambulance had taken her the ER doctor said she had dislocated her elbow (according to the 1st xrays he took) and they would try an get it back in. They tried but the first attempt did not stay and he said the elbow slipped out because her ligaments were "old". They tried again, said it was in and holding, put on a cast, took another set of xrays to confirm it was in properly and sent us home, suggesting she see an orthopedic doc for follow up.

I took her yesterday to an ortho who specializes in elbows. He looked at the xrays and said he was going to take his own. He took two xrays and immediately told us it was broken, followed with "didn't the hospital tell you"????.... In shock both my Mom and I said no. He then said the only option for her was elbow replacement surgery.

I think we need another opinion, but in the meantime the arm is still swollen, painful and probably healing all wrong. I am at wits end. Any suggestions??? Thank you in advance...we are in NJ.

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3 Replies:

  • Make them take a MRI before you agree to any surgery and get a second opinion after you get the MRI. You will have a better idea on what is going with a MRI then you ever will with an xray. It is possible they fractured her elbow setting it at the hospital. I imagine at her age she has some osteoporosis and it would not be hard for them to do that. Anyway get an MRI ASAP.
    kdliberty 3 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks for the response. I am taking her this week to another ortho and will ask for the MRI. From what it appears in the xrays the elbow was dislocated and the first time they tried to get it in the bone was fine. It seems that after trying to get it in on the second attempt part of the bone was broken and is now lodged in the joint area. It is clear from the first xrays that the area was not broken when they were taken or even after the first attempt at trying to get the dislocation in place. Obviously the bone was broken during the attempts by the ER doctor. Is there anything I can do?
    BonnieO 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • IF it is not a very big piece of bona thee may just need to "fish it out". If the ER doctor is resposible for it being there I would talk to a lawyer.
    kdliberty 3 Replies Flag this Response
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