Back to Legal Case Studies

Clinical Negligence Solicitor Successfully Concludes Negligent Ligament Surgery Case

23 April 2013

Clinical Negligence Solicitor James Bells’ client, Mrs C, had a water-skiing accident in February 2010. She was referred by her GP through her BUPA scheme to a private medical consultant.

She met with a Mr K who initially advised on conservative treatment. Our client’s knee continued to give way and he subsequently agreed to perform a hamstring graft ACL repair in March 2010. Immediately following the surgery, whilst our client was still in the recovery room, the surgeon, Mr K, approached our client and advised her that the metal screw used in the procedure had been left protruding too far out of the lateral condyle and the graft was only about 60% of the expected width. The explanation for the protruding screw was that our client’s bones were “too thin”.
 
Mrs C was told not to bend her knee after the surgery and this was contrary to what she had been told by the physios and Mr K prior to the surgery. The implant caused constant pain in the knee over the next 6 months. She had severe restriction in range of movement. She was very disappointed with the treatment and the responses she received from Mr K  She asked for a second opinion and had a further arthroscopy with a Mr B in October 2010. The patient’s knee remained weak and still gave way frequently.
 
An expert was asked to review the medical records and x rays. He stated that the graft placed (a) in an excessively anterior femoral position (it was too far forward) (b) too vertically and (c) the Transfix device was been left proud of the lateral femoral cortex and there was no attempt to correct this.
 
Liability in the surgery claim was initially denied by the Defendant. Court proceedings were issued and a rather vague defence was received. Detailed questions were put to the Defendant using Part 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
 
After some delay the questions were answered and £50,000 medical negligence compensation was offered, which our client accepted. The damages were compensation for past and future loss of earnings and one or possibly two further knee operations.
 
This was an appropriate result for our client. The positioning of the graft was so far out of alignment that it could not be considered an “outlier”. It was well outside what would be considered acceptable.

James Bell is a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.