Alex* was born in 2005 at the hospital where a doctor recognised that her right hip was dislocated. An ultrasound scan at Northwick Park Hospital identified neonatal instability and a repeat scan was recommended.
Six weeks later, however, the family's GP assured her mother that Alex's hips were 'satisfactory' and the repeat ultrasound was reported as normal. Alex was discharged with no follow-up deemed necessary.
When Alex was seven months old, she fractured her left femur and was put into a cast at Northwick Park A&E. Once the fracture healed, there were again no reported concerns about her hips, although her mother became increasingly alarmed about Alex limping. Following several visits to her GP, Alex was referred back to the Northwick Park Hospital where her right leg was found to be half a centimetre shorter than her left and that she had instability in her right hip.
Following an urgent referral to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital - Stanmore, major subluxation of the right hip was discovered and Alex underwent two surgeries after which her x-rays were considered satisfactory and stabilising plate and screws were removed some months later.
From around age 5 onwards, however, Alex suffered discomfort in her right hip, at some times worse than other times. By 2014, she had undergone several more surgeries to correct the problem. She now faces four hip replacement surgeries in adult life with uncertainty around mobility as she ages.
Will Jones pursued a hip dysplasia claim on her behalf for negligence by Northwick Park Hospital wrongly recording the early hip ultrasound as normal. Expert evidence about her psychological health raised problems with anxiety around her health, appearance, scarring and mobility and that she had experience bullying as a result of her limp.
The defendant admitted negligence in the delayed diagnosis of her hip dysplasia in 2005 and Will prepared a schedule of loss for a 17-year-old facing an uncertain future likely dogged by pain and discomfort and the need for repeat surgery.
The agreed settlement is potentially among the highest known awards for delayed diagnosis of hip dysplasia.
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