May 4, 2012

Payout for missed hip displacement

When T was born, her hips were examined, but the hospital staff did not see any abnormalities. A few days later T was transferred to another hospital where another examination took place. Again, no problems were noted so T’s mother was allowed to take her home.

Over the next months the problem became apparent: when the little girl was supported in an upright position her left foot inverted. T’s mother took her to a GP who in turn referred her back to hospital. It was only at this stage that the hip displacement which T actually had from birth was finally diagnosed.

T was admitted for traction treatment and three separate manipulation procedures over the following months. After six months her hip had still not been fully reduced into a normal position. Her mother sought a second opinion and went to see another doctor on a private basis. This doctor believed that an open procedure would be the best solution in T’s case. The procedure was a success, but T’s left hip still developed abnormally. She now walks with a limp and is likely to require more than one hip replacement procedure in the future.

Frustrated and upset about her daughter’s delayed diagnosis, T’s mother instructed Kerstin Scheel, an associate in our Clinical Negligence team. With the help of expert medical evidence, Kerstin proved successfully that the extent of T’s injuries would have been much smaller had the hip defect been diagnosed on time. After negotiations with the defendant NHS Trust, Kerstin obtained £488,000 in compensation for the T. This sum accounted for the cost of care T had needed over the years, equipment to help with her mobility, occupational therapy and adapted accommodation.

Kerstin says: “Fortunately this was a case where the Trust we sued admitted negligence, but achieving such a high compensation award required a tough battle. A large part of the damages was for future care and equipment to help T going forward, and I think the award will really improve her quality of life.”

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