Our client from Torbay twisted his knee on an Italian skiing holiday. He sought local medical advice and was told that he had almost certainly damaged his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He was advised to allow ten days for the knee to settle before having an MRI scan to assess the extent of the damage.
After he returned to the UK, he was referred to the consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Torbay Hospital. Our client explained what had happened and the Italian doctor’s advice but was informed that ‘this is not the way things are done in the UK’ and was instead referred for physiotherapy.
Our client persisted with physiotherapy for several months but it caused him much pain and no improvement in his knee, which he felt was unstable. Four months after the original injury, the superintendent physiotherapist eventually agreed an MRI scan which clearly showed a tear to the ACL, with some lateral prolapse and a tear to his radial meniscus.
He was told he needed an arthroscopy to remove some of the torn tissue and an ACL reconstruction. He asked if both could be done at the same time but was told that he would then have to wait longer, so he agreed to have the arthroscopy first. He then saw another orthopaedic surgeon whom he again questioned about ACL reconstruction but whose explanation dissuaded him from having the surgery.
When the risks and benefits of ACL were properly explained by the expert we had instructed to advise on the legal claim, our client understood the correct position. He then promptly made arrangements to have the ACL surgery which took place earlier this year. Our evidence is that this surgery was unfortunately some three years later than should have been the case.
He brought a claim against Torbay Hospital for failing to properly assess the nature of his injury, failure to act upon his lack of progress, and a delay in him receiving the surgery that he needed. The hospital initially disputed the claim in its entirety but, after the issue of court proceedings, a settlement was agreed.