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FDR Law Case Study - Failed Hip Replacement Surgery

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Daniel Lee, Associate Solicitor with FDR Law, based in our Warrington office discusses how a delay of over four years in correcting a failed hip replacement surgery resulted in an out of court settlement of £430,000.

Mrs C underwent a total right hip replacement at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospital NHS Trust following a hip replacement in 2006 when she was 67 years old.

Four years later in 2010 it was identified that the replacement had failed and Mrs C had revision surgery in early 2011.   During this operation she developed a joint infection and had to undergo further medical procedures, including a knee replacement.

Mrs C brought action against the hospital for being negligent in failing to identify for about two years that the hip replacement surgery was not successful and for performing an unnecessary knee replacement whilst her hip problems were ongoing. 

The Hospital Trust admitted liability in part for not performing the revision surgery earlier, which could have avoided the infection and further surgery.  However, the Hospital Trust felt that an unrelated back condition and Mrs C’s worsening osteoarthritis meant the knee surgery could have been required within three to five years.

As a result of the treatment Mrs C experienced pain and underwent revision surgery on five occasions.  Her knee was persistently painful and swollen and added to difficulties she had in climbing stairs.  These injuries impacted on her ability to manage her pre-existing lower back condition, and due to her hip problems it was necessary for her to use a walking stick.  In February 2016 the walking stick gave way and she suffered a fall, sustaining injuries that required an operation to replace her shoulder.   She struggled to regain even  modest function in the left upper limb and added to her already diminished ability to carry, lift, transfer and be mobile.

Mrs C became increasingly dependent on the use of a wheelchair and after spilling a hot drink onto her lap whilst in the wheelchair she suffered scalding burns to both thighs that required skin grafts, which in turn resulted in Mrs C suffering a gastric bleed. Her need for care and assistance increased further and adaptations were required to her home.

An out of court settlement of £430,000 total damages was awarded to cover pain, suffering and loss of amenity, past and future accommodation, care, occupational therapy, aids, equipment and travel expense expenses.

Daniel Lee can be contacted on 01925 230000 or by email daniel.lee@fdrlaw.co.uk

Case ref: 389/CB/DEA914-1