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Medical Negligence

Negligent surgeon suspended due to incorrect hip replacement surgery

Written by Francesca Paul, Associate & Clinical Negligence Solicitor

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July 9, 2024

This Group Action claim involved one of our clients who suffered from a condition called bilateral hip dysplasia. Symptoms of this condition include asymmetry of the legs, limited range of motion and hip clicks. Our client had suffered from this since birth, and consequently suffered from osteoarthritis. Our client had undergone numerous surgeries for this condition since birth.

In 2016, our client attended the hospital for her routine annual check-up and was put under the care of a new orthopaedic surgeon as the previous one had retired from NHS practice.

In this appointment our client was advised that her right hip was bone on bone, and that she urgently needed to undergo surgery. She was not offered any conservative treatment, such as physiotherapy or injections, before surgery was considered. Our client was reassured it was necessary to have this procedure and it was deemed a straightforward case.

 

The aftermath

In 2017 our client finally had her right hip replacement. To her shock, she recalled how the surgeon, who performed the surgery, mentioned to her that at the time of doing the operation he had been looking around the hospital to find the ‘dorum cup’ – the part that needed to be fitted. She was in disbelief and did not think he could be serious.

Following an 8-week non-bearing rest period, our client noted a burning sensation down her leg and hip. Upon referral from her GP, our client was sent back to the same surgeon, who advised her she would need to have revision surgery as her hip did not look right. Having faith in him and the defendant hospital a second time, our client had a second surgery in 2018, with the same surgeon, to correct the previous surgery.

What should have been a 1-hour surgery took 3 hours.

The next few months resulted in our client going back and forth to her GP and physiotherapist due to the pain and swelling in her leg, which had now turned into an oedema, a build-up of fluid. Eventually in 2019, our client was advised by her physiotherapist that the pain and ongoing swelling she was experiencing was not normal, and she was referred to a vascular surgeon.

In 2019 our client was given an ultrasound scan and was diagnosed with a large blood clot from her stomach to her calf. After further investigations, she was advised she was suffering from Chronic DVT. A narrowing of the artery was detected on the right side and an angioplasty was recommended. This procedure was completed after which our client was called in for an appointment with the orthopaedic team.

Our client was advised that the treatment she had received for her initial hip replacement had been very poor, and that the initial orthopaedic surgeon who had completed her surgery had now been suspended, pending investigation.

 

The case

This case was handled by Francesca Paul. A letter of claim was sent in January 2021 detailing the negligent treatment our client had received. We argued that the hip replacement surgery was below appropriate standard as the orthopaedic surgeon had not used an appropriate sized component. Furthermore, the cup had not been positioned correctly, causing further injury. Post operatively, the surgeon had also failed to note his errors in the x-rays he conducted and consequently had failed to notify our client of this. He had falsely reassured our client that the symptoms she was suffering from were recognised risks and side effects, when in fact they were a result of his negligence.

Had the surgery been completed to a proper standard, then our client should have healed within 6 months post operatively and she would not have needed revision surgery and would not have suffered from further pain and limited mobility.

During this time, Francesca ensured that our client also secured an interim payment of £50,000.

 

The case outcome

This case was settled for £230,000. Due to her life changing injuries, it was imperative our client could plan her future accordingly. Our client was happy with the support she received during this difficult time. The settlement has now allowed our client to start looking into purchasing a bungalow, which will aid her in her lifestyle going forward.