I recently settled a claim for a client who underwent hip replacement surgery after an x-ray showed he was suffering with severe osteoarthritis in both hips.
His condition, which is known as ‘femoral-acetabular impingement’ was affecting the way in which the joints around his hips moved, resulting in painful and limited hip motion as well as a waddling gait.
His hip replacement surgery was carried out in September 2011 and involved a ‘Birmingham Hip Resurfacing’ (BHR) procedure whereby a metal acetabular cup and femoral head were inserted into his hips.
BHR restores the natural shape of the hip joint meaning better stability and longevity than a traditional hip replacement. The procedure involves two parts mimicking the ball-and-socket structure of the hip joint: a socket shaped as a shallow cup, and a cap in the form of a ball head.
The cup replaces the damaged surface of the hip socket known as the ‘acetabulum,’ while the cap covers the femoral head, the ball-shaped bone located at the top of the thigh bone which rotates within the curved surface of the acetabulum.
Immediately after the operation, my client complained of severe pain in his hip. By the following month, he was still suffering with aches around the muscle as well as a hot foot at night. Despite this, an x-ray was performed in November 2011 and noted to be satisfactory.
Following further complaints of pain, my client received a steroid injection around his iliopsoas tendon. But his symptoms continued and in January his physiotherapist reported that he was still experiencing limited movement in his hips and pain radiating all the way down the front of his leg. He subsequently underwent a CT scan in February 2012 which showed that the acetabular component was out of position.
In March 2012, a specialist noted that the acetabular component my client received had been incorrectly inserted by the defendant. As a result, he had to undergo revision surgery in May 2012 and, by July of the same year, he was able to move his hips more freely with significantly less pain.
It still took my client approximately a year-and-a-half to reach the level of function that would be expected from a satisfactory primary resurfacing arthroplasty at six weeks. Even at this point he still suffered a constant dull ache in his hip as well as sleeplessness due to the resulting pain. He could only walk for a limited distance and could no longer run or play any sport.
Unfortunately, revision arthroplasty does not typically function as well as primary arthroplasty, therefore there is likely to be some continuing disability which would not have been present had the primary arthroplasty been successful.
Expert evidence showed that had the surgery my client underwent in September 2011 been correctly performed, he would likely have recovered in six weeks and been able to resume his job as a company director. In addition, he would have avoided the revision surgery and, after 12 months, his hip would have been functioning painlessly without any limitation to his lifestyle.
Although he found it difficult to come to terms with the unfortunate chain of events he experienced, my client was happy with the £30,000 compensation he received upon the successful settlement of his clinical negligence claim.
Laura Craig is a clinical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon in London.
Slater and Gordon have many years of experience in helping people who have suffered from the effects of surgical negligence.
Our expert clinical negligence solicitors can provide immediate legal representation and rehabilitation support from anywhere in the UK. We also offer hospital visits if you cannot attend one of our offices.