"Lack of aftercare advice and prevention at Macclesfield orthopaedic clinic"

About: Macclesfield District General Hospital / Accident and emergency Macclesfield District General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I sustained a displaced radius in February which was manipulated successfully in A&E, but unfortunately 2 weeks later the bones were no longer aligned and I had to have surgery with a plate inserted.

While I received kind and competent attention as an in-patient, I was sent home with very inadequate information about what I should expect. After having the plaster removed I waited 5 weeks for another appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic, during the whole of which time I was in quite severe pain, my hand and wrist were excessively hot, discoloured, swollen and immobile, in spite of initial physiotherapy and my subsequent attempts to perform exercises at home.

When I did have my out-patient's appointment, the doctor who examined me seemed both shocked and mystified by the condition and lack of improvement in my wrist and hand. He went to speak to the consultant, and came back to tell me simply to carry on with the physiotherapy and to come back in 2 months. This was very distressing.

When the physiotherapist saw my wrist 4 weeks after my initial appointment with him (3 days after my appointment at the Orthopaedic Clinic) he immediately diagnosed me as having Sudeck's Atrophy. It was very distressing that this had not been diagnosed much earlier in Orthopaedics, as by this time I had suffered 9 weeks of pain, swelling and stiffness, and I understand that early treatment is imperative for a good prognosis. Left untreated, the condition can be irreversible.

The final distressing element to this is that I have now learned that the simple measure of taking Vitamin C following a fracture can prevent this condition developing, and I am concerned that this information is not being given as a matter of course to every patient attending the clinic with a fracture.

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