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Hospital negligence claim - failure to diagnose infection in knee
Mrs M fractured her patella skiing and was advised that she would need the patella pinned. She was advised to have this done when she reached the UK.
The fracture was fixed during an operation at North Hampshire hospital in 2001 and was completely successful.
However, over the next few weeks, Mrs M continued to experience extreme pain and the knee failed to heal. She could not bend it or bear weight on it. She was seen at the hospital and repeatedly reassured that everything was fine and was referred for further physiotherapy. However, it turned out that she had an infection in the knee which led to her developing septic arthritis.
By the time this was discovered in August 2001, the damage was so advanced that she required a total knee replacement. This was done in November 2002 when Mrs M was just 30 years old.
As a result of the replacement she has become handicapped in her daily activities and will require a lifetime of further treatment and repeat revision surgery of the knee.
Boyes Turner medical negligence solicitors were approached in June 2002 and a Conditional Fee Agreement entered into in October of the same year.
Supportive liability evidence was obtained from an expert orthopaedic surgeon and an expert radiologist. The difficult part was causation (arguing when intervention would have made a difference to the overall outcome). This would be what linked back to whether it was negligent not to diagnose and treat her at that time.
Proceedings had to be issued due to limitation and were served in March 2005. The defendant robustly denied all allegations of medical negligence.
Due to Mrs M’s impaired mobility a care/occupational therapy report and an architectural report were commissioned.
A trial date was fixed to take place in July 2006, but due to unforeseen circumstances was moved to December 2006.
Unfortunately the expert radiologist failed to respond to any requests for further information or to deal with the defendant’s Part 35 questions. A second expert radiologist therefore had to be commissioned very late in the day and the report was not received until June 2006.
A Part 36 offer to settle the medical claim was made by us in April 2006 of £280,000 which took into account litigation risk.
When the second expert radiologist’s report was received it was not as supportive of causation, placing Mrs M’s case in difficulty. Additionally, the expert orthopaedic surgeon was not as confident following that second radiology report and the whole case began to look shaky.
The defendant’s made an offer of £175,000 out of the blue in July 2006. Whilst it may have seemed an easy option to take them up on this offer, clearly their evidence was not as supportive of their case either! Following many discussions between us, Mrs M and our barrister we made a counter-offer of £225,000 in August 2006 which was duly accepted without admission of liability on the part of the defendant.
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