What are you looking for?

22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Helen Dolan

Three quarters of a million pounds for woman left unable to walk properly

Woman receives £770,000 in compensation after undergoing failed hip replacement surgery. Alison was in her 50s when she underwent resurfacing of her right hip following a long history of arthritis. She made a good recovery and returned to work three months later.

However, in 2010, Alison developed pain in her right leg and buttock. Alison had also started to notice a gradual shortening of her right leg and the pain was travelling all the way from her right hip down to her foot.

She was seen by her original orthopaedic surgeon who, following an X-ray, confirmed that there was a fracture in the neck of the right femur. Alison was therefore listed for emergency revision surgery which took place just two days later.

Unfortunately, during surgery, it was clear that there was an infection and pus oozed from the joint. As a result, the surgeon decided not to continue with the hip replacement surgery but instead performed a first stage revision.

Alison was then discharged from the hospital a couple of days later before being readmitted to the hospital in January 2011 for the second stage revision.

She was discharged home a week later and at first it seemed that the operation had been successful as Alison’s legs were equal in length and the X-rays were reported as satisfactory.

However, Alison developed severe pain, so much so she ended up in A&E in March 2011. She underwent an X-ray which showed that the central fixation screw had fractured meaning that the total right hip replacement had failed.

Alison therefore underwent further surgery at the beginning of April 2011 which initially was thought to be successful however, by December 2011, she was again in pain and had shortening of the right leg. It was concluded that the total hip replacement had failed once again.

Since December 2011, Alison has continued to experience significant pain in her right leg and now has difficulty getting about.

Alison’s lack of mobility meant she is no longer able to continue working and she now uses crutches to get around in the house and a wheelchair outside the house. Alison was also struggling to care for herself as she lives in a two-storey property; she found it difficult to get upstairs.

Alison instructed Hugh James to investigate the standard of care provided to her by the surgeons during her hip replacement surgeries.

Following detailed investigations, we were able to allege that negligence occurred during Alison’s second stage revision surgery in January 2011 in that the hip implant was not positioned properly, that the surgeons failed to undertake X-rays which would have shown this and as a result, the hip replacement failed meaning Alison needed further revision surgery by just April 2011.

We were also able to allege that had Alison’s surgery in January 2011 been performed as it ought to have; she would not have undergone further surgery for another ten to 15 years and would have been able to return to work within three months until her anticipated retirement age of 65.

Lesley Herbertson, Partner at Hugh James, was able to successfully settle this case for Alison obtaining compensation of £770,000.00 and she commented:

This really is a life-changing amount of money for Alison as it will enable her to move to a bungalow rather than having to stay in her current home and struggling to get up and down her stairs every day. Alison’s life has been completely turned upside down as a result of the negligent surgery.

Before the surgery, Alison had some pain in her hip but she was able to get on with her life, go to work and look after herself. After the surgery, Alison could no longer work and became dependent on her family and friends to help out with many aspects of her life.

Simple things that we take for granted, such as just popping down to the shops, became a real ordeal for Alison due to her mobility problems. This money will therefore enable Alison to not only live in a suitable house but also ensure she can buy appropriate wheelchairs and other mobility aids so that she can get out about by herself and take back her independence.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Lesley Herbertson is a Partner at Hugh James and a leading medical negligence solicitor with over 30 years’ experience in dealing with catastrophic and serious injury medical negligence cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

Contact one of our experts

Fill in the form and one of our experts will get in touch with you shortly.