Six-figure settlement for ballet teacher unable to dance after negligent surgery at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Six-figure settlement for ballet teacher unable to dance after negligent surgery at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Susan was left with a 3cm difference in her leg length following a negligently performed left total hip replacement carried out at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. As a result of this she was unable to dance or teach ballet, which was her vocation.

Susan had worked as a professional ballet dancer, for a number of years before moving to Spain, where she taught ballet. At the end of 2007 Susan was unable to work due to osteoarthritis in her hip and so she made the decision to have a total hip replacement. She chose the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital because of its reputation and because of the skills of the surgeons in the UK, especially because the purpose of the surgery was to enable her to return to the work that she loved.

The negligent surgery was carried out in October 2008; Susan was 57 at the time. After the surgery it was clear that her left leg was significantly longer than her right leg. Susan was referred to a professor in orthopaedic surgery for a second opinion who commented that this was the largest leg lengthening he had ever encountered at a single procedure. Remedial surgery was discussed which included either lengthening the unaffected leg or, alternatively, complex revision surgery. As a result of the successful litigation Susan has sufficient funds to undergo remedial surgery on a private basis with the surgeon of her choice, at a time of her choice.

We obtained supportive independent expert evidence in December 2010. We told the Defendant of the likely allegations of negligence in October 2011 and issued court proceedings. Liability was eventually admitted by the Defendant in May 2012 and we entered judgment at the High Court in London, on Susan's behalf, later the same month. The Defendant provided a formal Letter of Apology and also put forward an early offer to settle Susan's claim in the sum of £100,000. We rejected that offer but obtained the sum of £100,000 as an interim payment on account of damages, whilst the case was ongoing.

The case was listed for trial in November 2013 and the main dispute between the parties was on the issue of the value of the claim; particularly the loss of earnings claim. We were able to obtain several helpful statements from other ballet teachers who had returned to teaching following successful hip replacements and who had continued teaching beyond normal retirement age.

This evidence proved vital in negotiations in support of our valuation of the claim. In March 2013 medical negligence solicitor, Samantha Critchley put forward an offer to settle Susan's claim in the sum of £310,690 which was accepted by the Defendant.

Susan said:

"From the first telephone conversation with Sam Critchley I began to be aware that this young woman who knew nothing of my life and circumstances understood what I was going  through . She was always discreet, tactful and patient. She examined my situation from every possible angle, taking everything into account thoroughly and exactly.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have foundFieldfisherand Sam Critchley at the worst point of my life, and to have received the very best possible attention there. As part of the preparation of my case I was required to attend consultations with eminent experts whose reports have been useful to me, both in understanding what had occurred and in the provision for future surgery.

Now I face the future with confidence. I was helped by the most competent champions in the field when I most needed help, and the compensation I received will protect me from the adverse effects of my unfortunate hip operation."

Contact us

For further information about orthopaedic negligence claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Samantha Critchley on 03304606812 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.