A Fife medical practice is to apologise to a patient for failing to diagnose a pain as a fracture.
The woman, known only as Mrs C, complained to the Scottish Ombudsman about her treatment.
She had had a hip replacement a few years ago that initially seemed to be successful.
But early last year she visited the practice because a pain in her thigh was preventing her from doing simple things like bending down to put on her shoes or driving.
She was prescribed painkillers for a possible muscle or ligament injury and advised to rest. But the pain continued and so she was sent for an x-ray, which was reported by a radiologist as normal.
The pain did not ease so she was referred to a specialist. Some months after her first visit to the practice, she asked staff for a referral to a private hospital.
Later that month the practice arranged for her to be given crutches, as she was struggling to walk.
Seen by a private consultant a few days later, he considered that the x-ray did show a possible issue and made suggestions for further investigations at an NHS hospital.
Carried out the following month, they showed Mrs C’s hip replacement had, in fact, become loose. This had caused her thigh bone to fracture.
Mrs C complained that the practice had failed to diagnose the cause of the pain in her thigh and this was upheld by the ombudsman.
He took independent advice from a medical adviser who is a GP. The medical adviser reviewed her medical records and said that although the x-ray was normal, the fact Mrs C continued to be in pain and visited the practice on several occasions should have prompted them to carry out further x-rays, particularly when she had to be given crutches.
The ombudsman also recommended that practice staff familiarise themselves with the diagnosis and treatment of hip fractures, discuss this incident and see if lessons can be learned and apologise to Mrs C for failing to take reasonable steps to diagnose the cause of her pain.