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Medical negligence hip replacement case study

Our client, a 72-year-old woman, received £90,000 for injuries sustained in October 2008 when the defendant hospital undertook a total knee replacement, but used an oversized replacement joint and inserted it incorrectly, causing a deformity of the right knee. As a result, the claimant’s mobility was extremely restricted and she needed a mobility scooter.

Our client underwent an elective total right knee replacement, performed by the defendant hospital. She made an unremarkable post-operative recovery, but complained consistently of pain in the knee, particularly on walking. About four weeks after the operation, she was seen in clinic and X-rays of her knee were described as “normal”. She was seen in clinic again, 14 months later, and it was recognised that she had never been happy with the result of the operation. The cause of her pain was believed to originate from degenerative back disease and not to be attributable to the knee replacement. Our client sought an opinion at another hospital where fresh X-rays were undertaken. On the basis of examination, that hospital advised her that she had 25 degrees flexion deformity in the right knee. On the basis of the X-rays, she was advised that the femoral part of the replacement joint appeared oversized and had been placed incorrectly.

The X-ray also revealed other problems at the back of the knee and with the main joint, and our client was advised that it was possible for her to have a further replacement, but that the consultant could only speculate upon a 50 per cent improvement, at best. She declined any further operation.

Our client made a claim against the hospital concerned that it was negligent to have used an oversized replacement joint and to have inserted it incorrectly.  The hospital admitted liability and the matter was settled in our client’s favour with damages awarded of £90,000.

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