Joanne Simons underwent a Youngswick decompression osteotomy on her left foot. This is podiatric surgery intended to straighten a bone in the toe. It often corrects hallux valgus (a bunion).
Surgery was performed at Edgware Community Hospital in 2006. During this procedure, Jo's first metatarsal (toe) was shortened significantly. As a result, she developed transfer metatarsalgia (pain in the front part of the foot) of the second and third toes and further collapse of her flat foot. Her mobility is severely restricted despite a number of remedial procedures and she developed a significant psychological reaction.
The case had parts:
- Informed consent:- whether the surgeon gave her an adequate pre-operative explanation of the material risks and post-operative outcomes, and whether he gave her adequate advice about the non-operative alternatives. We alleged that he didn’t and that had he done so, Jo would have postponed surgery for around 5 years.
- Conduct of the surgery:- whether the surgeon produced excessive shortening of the first metatarsal which he failed to correct intra-operatively; this caused the transfer metatarsalgia and further collapse of Jo's flat foot.
Breach of duty and causation were fiercely denied. The hospital disputed that Joanne was as disabled as she alleged and claimed that her outcome was substantially the same as it would have been in any event. They said she would have suffered orthopaedic degeneration and depression irrespective of the conduct of the surgery.
Joanne's claim was settled two weeks before trial.
The case was initially investigated by Edwina Rawson and concluded by Iona Meeres-Young, both partners in the medical negligence team. At the end of the case, Joanne commented:
"I'm eternally thankful to Edwina, who has been amazing throughout what has been an arduous and frightening process for me. Not only did she take on my case, which was far from straightforward, and make all the right judgement calls at the right times, but she has also given me so much moral and emotional support over the years, all the way to a life-changing settlement"
"Iona has been a tower of strength for me and I will be forever grateful to her. She has been so kind and patient, helping me every step of the way through what has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. She has also supported me emotionally and made all the right calls to keep me from having to go to trial and in reaching a settlement I never dreamed possible."
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