Clinical Negligence

Patient recovers compensation for substandard knee replacement surgery

Jonathan Herbert, specialist clinical negligence lawyer acting for the claimant successfully obtained an out of court settlement of £45,000 to compensate the claimant for her pain and suffering and financial losses following substandard knee replacement surgery carried out at the North Downs Hospital.

Mrs L underwent right knee, dual compartment, partial knee replacement. The procedure was documented to have gone well but she experienced significant post-operative pain and made slow progress. Her GP prescribed co-codamol and tramadol for on-going pain.

When Mrs L was reviewed the following month, her surgeon was very concerned because of the low level of physiotherapy provided in her local NHS hospital.  Mrs L underwent further physiotherapy but this brought limited benefit. At clinic review the following month, an x-ray revealed a valgus deformity. Again, she was advised to continue physiotherapy. No further progress was made and at a review a month later, she was listed for manipulation and arthroscopic analysis.

It was at this point that Mrs L contacted Jonathan who was concerned by the recommendation for manipulation and advised that an independent medical opinion should be obtained. Jonathan’s concerns were vindicated because the second opinion strongly advised that Mrs L should return to theatre as soon as possible to revise the tibial component and prepare for full revision surgery. Four months later, Mrs L underwent revision surgery with a better outcome.

Mrs L encountered a number of symptoms between the operations resulting in:

  • An inability to bend her right knee fully
  • Impaired mobility
  • Reliance on a walking stick or crutches when outside the home
  • Being able to walk for only short periods before needing to rest because of pain
  • Difficulties getting in and out of cars
  • Impaired and spoiled ability to enjoy going out and to socialise because of the pain and reduced mobility
  • Inability to enjoy cooking because she could not stand for long
  • Uncomfortable when in bed resulting in poor sleep
  • Painkillers and anti-inflammatories causing stomach pain
  • Inability to get in and out of the bath without assistance
  • Inability to go up and down stairs properly
  • Upsetting lost time enjoying typical grandparenting activities with very young and first granddaughter due to inability to lift her or hold her for very long unless sitting down and inability to take her out in her pushchair very far
  • Depression and anxiety also placing a strain on her marriage.

Unfortunately, the failure of the first operation resulted in permanent compromise. Mrs L was left with the following long term symptoms:

  • Numbness over the lateral aspect of the knee
  • Reduction in stamina
  • Reduction in range of movement, a loss of 10° knee flexion
  • Acceleration of symptomatic lumbar spine degeneration by two to four years
  • The second knee replacement will not last as long as the knee replacement performed initially would have done if performed to an acceptable standard.  Instead of two knee replacements, Mrs L will require four.

The defendant admitted liability and Jonathan negotiated a settlement without the need to issue proceedings.

Jonathan Herbert specialises in surgical negligence cases.  If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact him at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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