In July 2008, the Claimant, then aged 53, underwent a right total knee replacement at Kettering General Hospital. During the operation Mrs Patel suffered a fracture of her right femur.
It was noted on a pre-operative x-ray that Mrs Patel had a deformity (bowing) of the bottom part of her thigh bone which would make the operation technically more difficult. The operation note referred to the bowing of Mrs Patel's femur and that "notching of femur was inevitable owing to deformity of bone."
Mrs Patel was in a lot of pain after the operation. She was unable to weight bear. A post-operative x-ray of her right knee was taken and reported a fracture in the femur above the knee replacement prosthesis. She underwent a second operation where the fracture was fixed with a pin and plate.
Unluckily Mrs Patel fell two years later, in November 2011, and suffered a further peri-prosthetic fracture of her right femur, just above the metal plate in her thigh bone. She was admitted to the same hospital and underwent surgery to reduce and fix the fracture with a metal plate.
Sam Critchley took up the fight for Mrs Patel, after being personally approached by her niece. We obtained Legal Aid to fund the claim. We secured expert evidence from a leading orthopaedic expert who said the surgeon performed the knee replacement surgery negligently in July 2008 by:
- failing properly to take into account the deformity of the Claimant’s thigh bone;
- failing properly to angle the surgical cuts so as to avoid notching of the bone (making it more likely to fracture); and
- having caused notching to the femur, failing to take appropriate steps to achieve secondary stability of the femur and prevent subsequent fracture by using a different component to bypass the defect and achieve stability or by applying a supplementary plate to protect the femur.
The hospital strongly defended the claim. They said the surgeon did take account of the bone deformity and performed the operation correctly. The Defendant argued that the operation was technically very difficult because of the femur deformity and some notching of the bone was necessary and unavoidable.
The Defendant also argued that the complication of peri-prosthetic fracture - which was communicated to the claimant during the consenting procedure - was inherent in the nature of the claimant's condition and complexity of the knee operation and there was no failure to take appropriate steps to prevent subsequent fracture.
The Defendant specifically denied that the fracture two years later was in any way related to the surgery. They blamed the second fracture on the Claimant's fall and bowed femur and argued that after a successful total knee replacement there is a high risk of fracture.
Mrs Patel continues to suffer from marked pain and discomfort in her right knee, including when sitting and at night. Her knee gives way when she walks and her walking distance is now restricted. She mobilises with a stick. These problems are compounded by the fact that the Claimant suffers from widespread osteoarthritis, affecting her hands, shoulders and her left knee. What was most upsetting for the Claimant is that she was unable to return to work. She has worked all her adult life and this gave her independence. As a result of the negligent surgery the Claimant developed moderately severe depression.
The Defendant argued that her inability to work and daily restrictions were due to her underlying osteoarthritis and nothing to do with the alleged negligence. They argued she had not been working before the operation in July 2008 and would never have returned to work in any event.
We served court proceedings in May 2012. A full Defence was received in September 2012. A trial date was fixed for March 2014 and we settled what was a hard fought case, two months before trial, in January 2014. Samantha secured £200,000 damages for Mrs Patel which went some way in removing the anxiety that she faced of an uncertain future and retirement.
Mrs Patel said, after the case:
"I was so very happy with the job that Samantha did on my case. She got more for me than I could have hoped for. Thank you"
- You can speak to any member of our Medical Negligence team on freephone 0800 358 3848
- e-Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or,
- Complete our short enquiry form.
Contact us on freephone 0800 358 3848
Or start your claim online.
Fieldfisher is: ‘a firm full of the highest quality lawyers in the field' and has an 'outstanding depth of expertise’ - Legal 500 2015, Awarded Top Tier
"The group is praised for its commitment to 'demystifying the legal process' while this is a firm for which the client has always been a priority"
Fieldfisher's Personal Injury and Medical Negligence solicitors are proudly listed as 'Super Lawyers' in both on-line and off-line printed publishings.
Fieldfisher has successfully been recognised as an "Occupation and Asbestos Disease Specialists" Fieldfisher are now recognised as assessors
Fieldfisher are signatories of the Ethical Marketing Charter demonstrating our commitment to responsible, transparent and professional marketing.
Fieldfisher has been named as the winners of the Legal 500 United Kingdom 2015: *Claimant Clinical Negligence Award*. Testament to our expertise.
Fundamental errors in midwives training risks the lives of more babies
The Times reported yesterday that during the inquest of baby Billy Wilson, who died at three-days old, the midwife in charge of Billy's mother, Carla, at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield did not know how to use the CTG machine.
Christina Gardiner highlights worrying similarities in baby death investigations
The number of baby deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital draws worrying parallels with one of our own cases regarding substandard medical care provided at Watford General Hospital.
Surgeon Ian Paterson's case proves private hospitals need proper regulation
Following the conviction last month of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, the Royal College of Surgeons has rightly called for a review of the way private hospitals are regulated.
Fieldfisher wins Personal Injury Team of the Year award 2017
The team here at Fieldfisher have won Personal Injury Team of the Year at the 2017 Solicitors Journal Awards.
The Sun reports on Keith Barrett's case of Richard Giles, who died after being electrocuted when his lorry hit 11,000 volt cables