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Hip Op Failures: Elderly Claimant Suffers Permanent Mobility Loss

Elddely woman in a wheelchair
16th February 2015

An injury caused during surgery to rectify an incorrectly fitted hip replacement, which left a female pensioner suffering pain and impaired mobility was recently awarded compensation for clinical negligence.

Following increasing pain and inability to move her right knee, an X ray scan showed that the hip of a woman, nearly 80 years old, showed signs of severe deterioration from wear and tear. A referral to an orthopaedic specialist led to a course of physiotherapy, which failed to improve her condition and it was decided that a full hip replacement should be undertaken.

On the day after surgery, it was found that the patient was suffering increasing distress and pain and a further X ray was taken. It was discovered that part of the hip implant had become dislodged and a second operation was carried out a few days later to rectify the problem.

However, the elderly patient continued to experience considerable pain and also complained of having no feeling in her foot, to which a splint was applied. It was only under further examination that the sciatic nerve was revealed to have been damaged during the second operation, which was unlikely to fully recover from the injury.

A number of clinical negligence errors

In the subsequent investigation, a number of clinical negligence errors were shown to have taken place. In the initial operation, the replacement hip had been fitted in the wrong position and was not fixed firmly enough to prevent the joint moving out of place.

Following the first operation it was also found that the medical staff had not correctly read the X rays and failed to recognise and, therefore, note that the hip was not properly aligned. As a result of the original oversights, the claimant had to undergo a second operation, which led to a further error and permanent injury caused to the sciatic nerve

It was also heard that because of the limitations now placed on her everyday life and mobility, the elderly victim who had formerly “enjoyed an active life” and attended fitness classes twice a week, now found it “difficult to walk and dress herself.”