Clinical Negligence

Damages recovered following a failure to diagnose and treat infection

This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Clinical Negligence team who recently recovered £26,000 for a young man who suffered injury to his knee after a failure to manage an infection.

Mr A was only 17 when he began to experience pain and swelling in his right knee. He was seen by consultants in othopaedics and rheumatology but unfortunately, infection was not diagnosed. The infection became septic before a steroid injection was given which caused further damage.

Mr A had a history of ongoing knee problems and when symptoms increased, he went to the A&E department of Maidstone Hospital where a doctor suspected infection who arranged a test and referred him to the orthopaedic department. Blood test results were consistent with infection, but Mr A was discharged without a prescription. Five days later he returned to the A&E department of Maidstone Hospital complaining of worsening pain and he was referred again to orthopaedics where he was allowed to go home with a prescription for oral antibiotics after fluid had been taken for analysis.

Two days later, Mr A’s knee had swelled up again and he returned to hospital.  The doctor intended to review him the following week when biopsy results were anticipated.  The following week the orthopaedic doctor did not consider that he had a deep-seated infection and he arranged for Mr A to see the Consultant Rheumatologist.

Aspirate taken from Mr A’s knee confirmed the presence of infection but the Consultant Rheumatologist injected his knee with a Corticosteroid, which is absolutely contraindicated in the presence of infection.

Mr A’s condition deteriorated following this and he became unwell, unable to move his knee.  He returned yet again to A&E of Maidstone Hospital 11 days later when septic arthritis from infection was diagnosed. Mr A was started on intravenous antibiotics and underwent two arthroscopic wash outs. It was noted that he had severe articular damage in the medial compartment of his knee, which had not been present previously.

Mr A was unable to work at all for a year after the events and had additional ongoing problems.

No admissions were made but the claim was settled. Mr A was pleased with his settlement as it provided him with the ability to make a deposit on a house purchase.

Jonathan Herbert is a specialist in medical negligence cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a case involving an infection or treatment at A&E or if you have a general query about medical negligence contact Jonathan on 01892 701226 in confidence.

We have one of the largest and most experienced specialist medical negligence teams in Southern England including London. Our team of highly experienced lawyers has the depth and range of expertise essential in this sensitive and often complex area of law. Our clinical negligence team is very proud to be ranked Number 1 in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners UK.

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