A 12 year old girl's dislocated hip was left undiagnosed for 2 years when she was a baby, leaving her wheelchair-bound and with the need for a double hip replacement in later life. She was awarded:
Congenital hip dysplasia is not an uncommon condition in new-borns, where their hips are loose, but in most cases, it can be treated quickly. If it is not the opportunity to eliminate long-term complications arising is lost and it may then also be referred to as developmental hip dysplasia (DDH). If as a result of substandard medical care the warning signs are missed and the opportunity to treat the condition without surgery passes by there is an increased the risk of complications occurring and having a long term effect into adulthood.
In cases of medical negligence, especially those involving a child you can be left feeling vulnerable, uncertain, and worried about further treatment. We’re here to help those affected by medical negligence, including in cases of congenital hip dysplasia. We work with you to identify where and why the negligence occurred, helping you to take a case forward against those responsible for the sub-standard level of care your child has received.
With extensive experience in supporting those affect by medical negligence, we can help guide your congenital hip dysplasia claim from start to finish. We understand how difficult making the decision to claim compensation can be and from the very beginning of the process you can rely on the friendly, professional Your Legal Friend team to fight your corner. We’ll take the time to fully understand your claim and how you and your child has been affected by DDH, allowing us to place an accurate value on your personal case.
If you want to discuss your child's experience of delay in diagnosis of congenital hip dysplasia with us and consider if we can help take your case forward, you can contact Your Legal Friend today.
All medical compensation claims are subject to a three-year time limit, after this point you may be too late to take your case to Court. If the injury was suffered by a child under 18, the three year time limit does not start until the child’s 18th birthday, so they have until age 21.
However it is always better to start your child’s investigation early whilst facts are still fresh in your mind and whilst medical records are still easily accessible.
Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much
Mrs E. Swaffield
Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of birth injury cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a hip dysplasia case.
That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.
Our birth injury team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value hip dysplasia cases.
Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.
Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.
Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.
The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.
Director of Medical Negligence
Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win
Whatever the nature of your birth injury claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard birth injury claims.
With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.
We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.
As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.
You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery. You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.
You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury. To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.
We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.
The value of your claim comprises:
You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.
Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.
The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.
If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.
Congenital hip dysplasia isn’t a condition that can be avoided but you may be able to make a successful compensation claim if your child didn’t receive the level of care he or she should have. You will need to prove both that they were let down by the healthcare system and that the outcome is wosre as a result.
Ways that medical negligence could occur in relation to baby hip dysplasia include:
• A new-born examination not being conducted during the 72 hours following birth or failure to fully examine the hips during the exam.
• A follow-up examination between six and eight weeks after birth not being conducted.
• An ultrasound scan not being ordered if your baby’s hips showed signs of instability at the follow-up appointment.
• Treatment not being delivered effectively or quickly enough following a diagnosis for DDH.
• The level of care you and your baby received during treatment being below expected standards.
As well as highlighting that medical negligence has occurred you will need to demonstrate how it has affected your baby. This could include lasting complications of congenital hip dysplasia that affects your child’s movement or the need for further surgery that would have been avoided now or in the future as an adult.
Every compensation case is different and this is reflected in the value that’s placed on each claim. When you work with Your Legal Friend, we take the time to understand your child’s case and ensure that the suffering they have endured, and any difficulties they are likely to face in the future as a result are fully reflected.
While we can’t tell exactly how much compensation they could receive without first speaking to you, medical negligence claims can be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Every year the NHS pays out millions to those affected by negligence when they were relying on the healthcare system.
All medical compensation claims are subject to a three-year time limit, after this point you may be will not be able to take your case to Court. If the injury was suffered by a child under 18, the three year time limit does not start until the child’s 18th birthday, so they have until age 21.
Most DDH cases are brought for children whilst they are quite young, however, if you as an adult have recently been diagnosed with DDH and are facing hip replacement surgery as a result you may still be within time to make a claim - in these circumstances we will look at the ‘date of knowledge’. This is date on which you first became aware that you had suffered an injury as a result of substandard medical care. This can be difficult to establish so do please speak to our friendly team who would be happy to advise you, whether you are still within time to bring a claim.
Congenital hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), congenital hip dislocation, or hip dysplasia, happens when the joint of the hip doesn’t properly form during the development stage.
The hip is a ball and socket joint, where the socket of the hip is too shallow or the ‘ball’ of the thigh bone isn’t held tightly in place it can lead to hip joints that are loose or clicky hips in babies. In the most extreme cases of congenital hip dysplasia, the hip can dislocate.
When diagnosed during the early stages, treatment can ensure that there are no lasting problems. There are processes in place in the NHS to ensure that every new-born is examined and any potential issues highlighted. However, it can lead to problems later in life if treatment isn’t delivered and there are instances of where medical professionals have missed opportunities to diagnose at earlier stages.
As new-borns DDH doesn’t affect babies but if it’s not treated during the early months of their lives it can create problems when they begin to move around, especially as they crawl and take their first steps and continue to worsen as they grow up. Hip dysplasia in babies shouldn’t cause pain but, again, if it’s left untreated it can lead to early arthritis developing, causing pain and reduced movement.
Causes of hip dysplasia are not always clear or entirely understood. While it’s not understood why DDH sometimes occurs, the condition has been linked to certain risk factors, including:
Spending a lot of time tightly swaddled, where your baby is wrapped with their legs straight and pressed together, can also means there’s a risk of slowing the baby’s hip development. As babies’ hips are naturally more flexible following birth, swaddling can be one of the hip dysplasia causes if not done correctly.
Congenital dysplasia can’t be prevented and nobody is to blame for the condition developing in babies. Shortly following birth, a baby’s hips are naturally more flexible and DDH hip is a relatively common occurrence that doesn’t necessarily mean lifelong complications.
While a displaced hip can’t always be avoided, it should be picked up through routine checks by healthcare professionals responsible for the care of you and your baby. Where this hasn’t occurred due to medical negligence, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. If your baby has been affected by infant hip dysplasia that wasn’t treated, leading to mobility problems or other issues, we’re here to offer you support and advice on how to hold those responsible to account.
During your baby’s new-born physical examination, a medical professional will check for hip dysplasia symptoms. They will do this within 72 hours of your baby being born and it involves gently manipulating your baby’s hip joints to see if there are any issues. Another hip examination should be carried out when your baby is between six and eight weeks, to again assess if there are any problems. An examination for hip displacement shouldn’t cause your baby discomfort.
Hip dysplasia baby symptoms that are picked up during the early examinations are generally the hip feeling unstable. It’s often not until later that there are noticeable signs of congenital hip problems, becoming more evident as your child moves around more.
Most cases of congenital hip dysplasia are picked up very early during the new-born physical examination, which should be carried out within 72 hours of birth. A further examination should be conducted when your baby is between six and eight weeks, allowing for medical professionals to flag up any potential issues when they are most treatable.
Both baby examinations will involve gently manipulating your baby’s hips, it shouldn’t cause any discomfort but will allow those conducting the examination to see how their hips move. If the hips do feel unstable a baby hip scan will usually be recommended. This hip ultrasound will give professionals a better understanding of your baby’s joints and allow them to deliver a diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis for DDH has been achieved, hip dysplasia treatment may need to be started. In some case, baby hip dysplasia treatment isn’t needed as the baby’s hip can stabilise on its own.
Hip dysplasia baby treatment is often very effective and with early diagnosis most children affected will develop a full range of movement in their hip, with no lasting effects.
There are a number of different treatment options for hip dysplasia, depending on how quickly the condition is diagnosed and the severity of it.
A Pavlik harness is a fabric splint that is used to treat DDH in babies. It’s simply used to secure both of your baby’s hips into a stable position as they develop naturally. It’s often used for several weeks and is worn constantly. Through follow up appointments, health professionals will check your baby’s hips and adjust the Pavlik harness where necessary. It can be challenging to changes your baby’s clothes, nappies, and other routine tasks but you should receive advice and instructions when at the hospital.
Hip dysplasia treatment may involve surgery if the condition is missed during the baby’s first months or if a Pavlik harness hasn’t been effective. The most common type of surgery is known as a reduction, this is where the ball of the femur is placed back into the hip socket. It’s a procedure that’s conducted under general anaesthetic and your child will need to wear a cast for at least six weeks following the surgery. The hip will be examined at regular points following the surgery to assess how the hip is stabilising.
Where the condition is more severe, hip displacement treatment may also require bone surgery, allowing for bone deformities that may have developed to be corrected.
Hip problems in babies that are left untreated can lead to a limp developing, painful and stiff joints, and hip pain. Due to the instability of the joints it can make full movement and mobility a challenge if treatment isn’t delivered.
The hip dysplasia baby prognosis is generally very good and most of those affected don’t suffer any lasting effects. As your baby grows and begins to crawl or walk you may notice some restricted movement, such as a limp when walking or one leg dragging behind the other. Even if DDH isn’t diagnosed until your child is a toddler, treatment can be used to effectively treat the condition.
It isn’t possible to prevent congenital hip dysplasia and one or two babies in every 1,000 born require treatment for the condition. More babies are born with DDH than these figures suggest, however, not every baby that has congenital hip dysplasia requires treatment, as the issue can correct itself.
Globally around one in every 20 full-term babies has some hip instability at birth. In most cases, the hips will stabilise themselves. Just two or three infants out of 1,000 births will need treatment for congenital hip dysplasia. It’s also more common in girls and first children.