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Damages for failure to perform a total knee replacement to an appropriate standard

Damages for failure to perform a total knee replacement to an appropriate standard

Our client has successfully secured damages against Care UK.

As a result of treatment provided to her by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Southampton NHS Treatment Centre on the 28 March 2012.

Our client began to suffer with problems in her left knee from around 2011. Her knee was causing her pain and swelling and an x-ray showed marked degenerative changes of the knee joint.

She was referred to the Orthopaedic Department at Southampton NHS Treatment Centre in January 2012. On examination, the knee showed swelling in the joint and around her knee cap. The radiology confirmed severe arthritic change in the left knee and calcinosis of both knees. A plan was agreed for a total knee replacement (TKR) and our client was put on the waiting list.

Our client underwent the TKR on the 28 March 2012. She attended a follow up in April 2012 where it was noted there were no signs of wound infection. By May 2012, it was noted that she was mobilising and her physiotherapist was satisfied with her progress. It was noted that she would need a follow up at three months post-surgery but this was not arranged.

By August 2012, our client was finding mobilising difficult and that her knee was swelling. She sought advice from her GP and was referred for an x-ray in case there was a problem with the TKR. The results of the scan were satisfactory and no further action was taken. However, it was noted that the radiologist did not have any immediate post-operative images for comparison.

By October 2012, our client was still experiencing left knee pain. Her GP referred her back to her surgeon. In contrast to the symptoms described by our client, her surgeon recorded that she was doing very well and that her knee occasionally clicks without any associated pain. However, our client continued to experience severe pain and instability so arranged a further appointment with her GP in January 2013.

She began attending physiotherapy in May 2013 but by this stage her knee was giving way about once a week. She was discharged by her physiotherapist and was advised to continue with home exercises.

By April 2014, she was told that the pain and instability that she was experiencing was now permanent and there was nothing that could be done. She saw her GP and a further x-ray was ordered. The results confirmed that there was a marked tilt of the tibial component superiorly laterally and inferiorally medially. The x-ray was discussed with our client and her GP sent a letter to her surgeon asking for a further review.

Her surgeon saw our client in June 2014. He commented that there were no changes present and no sign of loosening or any other bone changes. She attended her surgeon in August 2014 where he recorded that she was now pain free. Again, this was contrary to what our client was experiencing.

After further complaints to her GP, her GP arranged for her to have a second opinion at the Southampton General Hospital with a different surgeon. This surgeon, on examination, found that there was a great deal of rotary instability with large medial opening of her joints inflexion. There was also evidence of mid-flexion instability at 45° flexion. Radiographs showed that the joint had been put in incorrectly and that her TKR would need to be revised.

Our client underwent a revision of her left total knee replacement and patella resurfacing on the 10 November 2015. Fortunately, she now no longer experiences any significant symptoms with her knee.

Johnathan Steventon-Kiy, specialist Clinical Negligence Lawyer, pursued our clients claim. Johnathan argued that the standard of care offered to our client fell below that which she was to reasonably expect.

Johnathan obtained expert evidence from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. The expert confirmed that the post-operative imaging following our clients total knee replacement in March 2012 clearly showed a malalignment and that the TKR had not been performed to a reasonable standard. Johnathan also argued that there was a failure by her surgeon to illicit and to take any/or adequate heed of our client’s persistent pain and instability and to recommend knee revision at that stage.

As a consequence, Johnathan argued that our client would have been spared 3 years and 8 months of additional pain, suffering and loss of amenity had her TKR been performed to an acceptable standard in the first place. Furthermore, she would have been spared the need for revision surgery and the additional pain, suffering and loss of amenity arising from that additional surgery.

Care UK admitted that the surgeons care had fallen below a reasonable standard and that as a result our client had endured prolonged pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

Following the submission of the allegations to Trust, the claim was swiftly concluded. Our client accepted damages of £15,000.00 plus payment of her legal costs.

Johnathan Steventon-Kiy, specialist Clinical Negligence Lawyer says,

“I am really pleased that we were able to conclude this case amicably and that my client obtained an award of damages that was both fair and reasonable and, crucially, that she was happy with.”

Johnathan Steventon-Kiy and the Clinical Negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients. If you, a family member or a friend suffer from Clinical and/or Medical Negligence contact our team today on 02392 483 322.

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