Background and purpose
The current treatment for femoral fractures in children is mostly operative, which contrasts with treatment of other long bone fractures in children. We analyzed treatment injuries in such patients in Finland in order to identify avoidable injuries. Our other aims were to calculate the incidence of these fractures and to describe the treatment method used.
The Patient Insurance Centre (PIC) provides financial compensation of patients who have sustained an injury in connection with medical care. We retrospectively analyzed incidence, treatment methods, and all compensation claims concerning treatment of femoral fractures in children who were 0–16 years of age during the 8-year period 1997–2004.
The incidence of childhood femoral fractures in Finland was 0.27 per 1,000 children aged < 17 years, and two-thirds of the patients were treated operatively during the study period. 30 compensation claims were submitted to PIC during the 8-year study period. The compensation claims mainly concerned pain, insufficient diagnosis or treatment, extra expenses, permanent disability, or inappropriate behavior of medical personnel. Of the claims, 16 of 30 were granted compensation. Compensation was granted for delay in treatment, unnecessary surgery, and for inappropriate surgical technique. The mean amount of compensation was 2,300 euros. Of the injuries that led to compensation, 11 of 16 were regarded as being avoidable in retrospect.
The calculated risk of a treatment injury in childhood femoral fracture treatment in Finland is approximately 2%, and most of these injuries can be avoided with proper treatment.