£600,000 won for negligent hip replacement surgery

Darren Tamplin, specialist medical negligence solicitor and head of the clinical negligence department at Fairweathers Solicitors LLP based in Canterbury settled a substantial orthopaedic claim on behalf of his client, Mrs B.  Mrs B, a 36 year old working mother from Herne Bay, Kent, required a Birmingham type hip replacement operation to her left leg.  The procedure was performed at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.  During the surgery Mrs B’s sciatic nerve was severely crushed between the acetabular cup component of the prosthetic hip and her bone.

As a result, Mrs B sustained a permanent foot drop (the inability to control her foot), severe pain and discomfort.

She underwent further surgery to investigate the damage to her sciatic nerve at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. Following this operation Mrs B developed a persistent MRSA infection of her hip wound.

She then underwent a series of further operations to remove the prosthetic hip component, to insert antibiotic spacers, to graft skin to the scarred area and ultimately to re-implant a second replacement hip.  Mrs B was unable to return to her previous employment, unable to properly care for or play with her young children and requires a significant amount of care and assistance around the home.

Her claim was commenced at the High Court in London but ultimately settled prior to a trial with the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (the trust responsible for the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford) admitting liability and agreeing to pay damages in the sum of £600,000.

Darren Tamplin said:

“The effects upon my client and her family of the surgical error will be felt for the remainder of her life.  The surgeon performing the operation should have been far more alert to the well recognised risk of nerve injury and protected the sciatic nerve whilst inserting the hip replacement components.

Whilst Mrs B would rather have the full health and mobility that she should have had following this routine operation, I am pleased that the significant sum achieved in damages will make her life and those caring for her and her children much easier in the future.”