Orthopaedic Negligence Claims
‘Orthopaedics’ refers to the area of medicine pertaining to human bones, muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. Orthopaedic surgeons specialise in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disorders in these areas of the body, such as broken bones, chronic back pain and knee strain. Some doctors will specialise in a specific area of the body such as the knee or hip. An orthopaedic surgeon will conduct the pre-operative, operative and post-operative aspects of surgery as well as rehabilitation. Examples of types of orthopaedic surgery include:
- Hand, elbow and shoulder surgery
- Back and spine surgery
- Foot and ankle surgery
- Bone fractures
- Paediatric orthopaedics
- Joint replacement and reconstruction
- Carpal tunnel release
- Ligament reconstruction
- Lumbar spinal fusion and shoulder arthroscopy (using a microscopic camera to diagnose and repair shoulder pain)
What is Orthopaedic Negligence?
Everyone expects and deserves to undergo a successful and necessary orthopaedic procedure. Unfortunately, NHS negligence does happen (~100 case each year), and consequences vary widely in severity. ‘Negligence’ comprises treatment or care that falls below medically acceptable standards. Negligent orthopaedic procedures can have a sudden life-changing impact that is potentially chronic and debilitating.
Types of Orthopaedics Negligence Claims
The main type of orthopaedic negligence is as a result of mistakes during surgery, for example spinal surgery negligence can result in paralysis and careless foot, ankle or hip surgery (for example mismatched hip replacements) can affect the ability to walk. In surgical sports medicine this can be career-limiting. Badly performed procedures such as a poorly fitted medical implants, prosthesis or grafts that have not been applied correctly, can substantially reduce quality of life. For some patients, surgery is completed in the wrong location (‘wrong site surgery’ such as the wrong knee or eye), resulting in additional surgery and recovery time, as well as significant distress.
Treatment complications may arise resulting in the need for further treatment, for example thrombosis (blood clotting) or pseudoaneurysms (injury to a blood vessel wall). Sometimes, unnecessary surgery is performed on a broken bone. Delayed diagnosis of fractures/broken bones can have severe repercussions for patients with the metabolic disorder diabetes; problems with bone healing mean this could lead to a permanent disability. In musculoskeletal oncology negligence, misdiagnosis of bone tumours can be life threatening. Paediatric orthopaedics complications are a particularly distressing area as there is the added worry about the long-term effects on your child’s life, for example a missed diagnosis of a bone fracture could result in uneven bone growth.
Secondary treatment mistakes often arise due to substandard aftercare following orthopaedic surgery. For instance, if a tourniquet has been applied for overly long periods of time, resulting in tissue damage and subsequent amputation of an appendage (finger, toe, hand, leg) or entire limb. Other post-operative complications include infections, long-term pain, muscle damage and nerve damage (from poorly administered injections). Some claims also deal with surgery where informed consent was not obtained. There may even be a failure to identify ‘red flag’ symptoms which would indicate an imminent medical emergency such as cauda equina syndrome (compressed lumbar spine nerve roots), resulting in a devastating injury or significant disability.
Why Use Our Solicitors for Orthopaedic Compensation Claims?
Our substantial expertise in NHS negligence, orthopaedic negligence and compensation claims means we are well placed to support you at this difficult time and ensure the best outcome is obtained for you and your family. Our highly trained medical negligence solicitors can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, holding the responsible parties to account. A successful claim will make daily life more manageable as well as covering rehabilitation costs, travel expenses, lost earnings and any adjustments required to the home.
You will also receive valuable impartial advice and support to make sure you receive the best rehabilitation pathway. Our caring team can also provide a wealth of resources such as links to relevant charities and support groups. There is a time limit to medical negligence claims; get in touch now to take the first step on the road to recovery!