"Poor treatment for my fractured leg"

About: Leeds General Infirmary / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I attended A&E on the 12th of May 2006 with a suspected broken leg, after playing football. I was seen by a nurse and told my leg was not broken and I was dismissed, without an x-ray or any crutches. I subsequently could not walk to the bus stop, so awaited a lift from a friend who also happened to have some crutches I could borrow. On the 16th of May, I returned to A&E as my leg had not improved. I was again told it was not broken without an x-ray. After being told my leg was not broken on two separate occasions, I though I must have just been being a wimp about it. However, 10 days later my leg cracked and gave way when I was cycling. I did not fall off my bike, simply applying pressure to the pedal caused my leg to crack. Considering I have been cycling since the age of 5 and my leg has never broken in this way, I think it is highly likely that I was cycling with a broken leg, which was made worse when it cracked. I am shocked by the poor treatment I received; on 2 separate occasions nurses failed to diagnose a broken leg. As an ex-professional footballer I am devastated. I had been out of the professional game for 1 year and was hopeful of a return to the professional game. I subsequently recovered from my fracture, however, during my 2nd game after recovery, I fractured the same leg again. I am now fearful that there is permanent weakness in my leg, and the NHS are to blame. If they had diagnosed my first fracture it is most likely that it would have been a standard 6 weeks in plaster. However, as my fracture was worsened by the cycling incident, I was on crutched for 22 weeks. It took me 12 months to return to football. My 2nd fracture is still not healed fully after 16 weeks and 3 days. I am devastated and feel like the NHS has ruined my playing career. A sport that I live for, I can no longer play. These events have caused me a great deal of anger, frustration and borderline depression. When I complained to the NHS they first tried to deny that any blame was attached to them, in the hope that I would believe them. After I took the matter up with the Healthcare Commission the NHS reluctantly admitted they were to blame and wrote to me with the most insincere apology I have ever received, it was insulting, they had no sympathy for what I had been through. They did not care. I would expect that there would be some guilt and remorse, but none was shown. To this day I am still angry, and I hope the two nurses that mistreated me were disciplined accordingly. I have tried my best to convey how angry and disappointed I am and what a massive effect this has had on my life, but I feel that my writing skill has let me down. In summary, my opinion of the A&E department probably could not be any worse.
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Response from Patient and Public Involvement Lead, Leeds PCT

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I was very sorry to hear about the injury you sustained whilst playing football. I was also sorry to hear that the treatment you received whilst in accident and emergency was less than satisfactory.

I shall ensure your comment is passed onto the accident and emergency department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

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Response from Patient and Public Involvement Lead, Leeds PCT

Please find below a response to your comments from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

We take all complaints and comments received about our service very seriously and always act to improve our performance based upon what we can learn from patient feedback and experience.

We ensure that all feedback is shared directly with the individual staff concerned to allow them to reflect upon their actions and for us as an organisation to ensure that individuals skills are maintained and enhanced where possible.

It is sad to read about your experience in Leeds and we are truly sorry that you feel this way and perceive any previous apology to be insincere.

We are always happy to enter into conversation with people who have concerns or issues and feel that this is the best way to resolve problems and ensure that a satisfactory outcome is achieved.

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