October 24, 2019

Five-figure sum for 16 year old who developed knee problems as a result of a delayed diagnosis

After falling off of her bed, B twisted her right knee which caused her immense pain and made the area around her knee tender to touch. She went to her GP who referred her to the hospital’s emergency department. An examination at the hospital noted that she was walking with a clear limp and could only straighten her leg if she was given painkillers. She was provided with crutches and a cricket splint and told to return in two days for an outpatient clinic.

At the clinic, B was told that she should weight bear as much as possible and start doing exercises with the knee. She was told that she should try and wean herself off the splint but B found it incredibly painful to walk on her leg without it.

Two weeks later B returned for a check up. At the appointment, the doctor noted that she still had limited movement in her knee and could not straighten her leg. The doctor saw that her thigh muscle had wasted away. B was advised to continue to use her splint, stop weight bearing and rely on her crutches. This advice was the opposite of the advise that she had received at her initial appointment.

The doctor also thought that as B was still in a lot of pain and had limited movement that an MRI scan should be taken. The MRI scan was taken on 22 November and, at an appointment two and a half weeks later, B was told that she had suffered a lateral meniscal tear, which is a tear to the cartilage on the knee joint. It was therefore advised that she undergo surgery in order to try and relieve the pain and repair the tear.

Unfortunately, because of the delay in diagnosing the injury and undertaking the operation, the surgeon was unable to repair the meniscus tear and instead had to remove the entirety of the tissue.

Why was this negligent?

Had the correct scans been carried out during the first check up at the outpatient clinic, then the consultant who saw B could have either ruled out or confirmed if B had suffered a lateral meniscal tear. Our independent expert found that this was below an acceptable standard of care. It led to a 6 week delay in the diagnosis and a delay in the subsequent operation, which meant the outcome would be worse than if it had been done on time.

How did this affect B?

As a result of the delay in diagnosis, B suffered an unnecessary and extended period of pain, which culminated in her having to undergo a more invasive surgery than if she had been diagnosed from the start.

Whilst the surgery allowed B to regain almost full movement in her leg, because the surgeon had to remove additional tissue in her knee as a result of the delay, B is now at an increased risk of arthritis developing earlier in life and she likely to require a knee replacement or other knee operations.

How did RWK Goodman help?

As a result of Ali Cloak’s work, RWK Goodman was able to successfully obtain a five-figure sum of damages for B. Part of the settlement is to enable her to have the future surgery on a private basis, as well as to provide the care and support she will require after the surgeries whilst recuperating.

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