The claim was based upon the GP's failure to recognise and diagnose developmental dysplasia of his right hip (DDH) over several years. The delay has left the boy likely to have undergo hip surgeries in later life.
If DDH is recognised in young babies, simple treatment in a cast usually means development of a normal hip with no problems in later life.
The boy was born in 2008 and was the second child of a family who live in Surrey. Not least because she had her first child to compare his development with, the boy's mother grew increasingly concerned about her son's obvious mobility problems by the time he was six months old. He was not weight bearing, sitting or rolling and could not push down with his legs when his mother bounced him on her lap. Instead, he kept his legs tucked up.
When he was seven months old, his mother took him to see the defendant GP who, despite performing a physical examination, said his delay in mobility was because he was a big baby. Despite the mother re-visiting the defendant often over the next 12 months, during which time he was increasingly unsteady, falling often, and showed obvious signs of problems with mobility, she continued to dismiss the mother's concerns.
Despite a physiotherapist also stating that there was no obvious problem with the boy's hip, when he eventually saw a consultant surgeon at two-years-old, it was confirmed that his left leg was longer than the right, that there was asymmetry of creases on his buttocks and that he always limped on his right leg. An X-ray revealed dysplasia of the claimant’s right hip.
In the spring of 2010, the boy underwent three surgeries under general anaesthetic, including arthrogram of the right hip with closed reduction and the fitting of a hip spica, which was later removed. He will need to be regularly reviewed by doctors.
After Will gathered expert witness evidence the defendant admitted a negligent delay in recognising symptoms of DDH, including missing the opportunity of making an urgent referral for a paediatric assessment to exclude DDH and asking for X-rays of the claimant’s hips that would have demonstrated DDH of the right hip.
Had this been done, the boy would developed a normal hip.
The settlement will provide for, among other things, the costs of private treatment, various therapies, aids and equipment, house adaptations, and loss of earnings.
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