Injuries as a result of treatment of tibial fractures in children: Claims for compensation submitted to the Patient Insurance Center in Finland.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Tibial fractures comprise 10% of all fractures in children. To our knowledge there have been no previous reports of treatment injuries in these fractures. We analyzed compensation claims concerning treatment of these fractures in Finland. We used this information to determine preventable causes of treatment injuries. MATERIAL AND METHODS: In Finland, the Patient Insurance Center (PIC) provides financial compensation for patients who have sustained an injury in connection with medical treatment or operation. We retrospectively analyzed all claims for compensation arising from treatment of tibial fractures in children that had been received by the PIC between 1997 and 2004. The mode of treatment, complications, and permanent sequelae were assessed. We also estimated the number of avoidable treatment injuries. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION: The PIC received 50 claims for compensation during the 8-year study period. The claims were based on the following issues: pain, incorrect diagnosis and treatment, permanent disability, extra treatment expenses, inappropriate behavior of the medical personnel, and loss of income of the parents. 35/50 claims had received compensation, of which 32 were related to the treatment and 3 to infections. The treatment injuries that had led to compensation comprised a delay in diagnosis and treatment in 15 patients, inappropriate casting in 9, inappropriate operative treatment in 5, and other causes in 3 patients. An unsatisfactory standard of treatment and missed diagnosis were the most common reasons for compensation. In restrospect, all but 1 of the 35 injuries that had led to compensation were considered to be avoidable.

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Palmu, S., Paukku, R., Mäyränpää, M. K., Peltonen, J., & Nietosvaara, Y. (2009). Injuries as a result of treatment of tibial fractures in children: Claims for compensation submitted to the Patient Insurance Center in Finland. Acta Orthopaedica, 80(1), 78–82. https://doi.org/10.1080/17453670902805080

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