We settled a claim for a client who had undergone knee surgery due to ongoing pain in her knees. Subsequent investigations suggested that, in fact, the pain was not caused by a problem in her knees but actually stemmed from osteoarthritis in her hips. Following subsequent hip surgery, our client recovered well.
The claim was advanced on the basis that our client was entitled to damages for the delay in diagnosing an osteoarthritic condition in her hips and for the unnecessary surgery to her knees. Expert evidence stated although she had suffered from knee pain for years, the earliest the defendant could reasonably have been expected to diagnose the condition in our client’s hips was seven months previously. This meant that there was a relatively limited period of delay between when our client should have been diagnosed and when she was correctly diagnosed and treated with hip replacements.
In clinical negligence cases, damages are only payable for the loss which has arisen. In this case, the loss was limited to unnecessary knee surgery and the seven month period during which our client had to endure pain and discomfort which she would not, on balance, have otherwise suffered had she been appropriately diagnosed.
The modest damages in this case reflected the limited pain and suffering which had been caused by the defendant’s negligence.
The case was handled by Sarah Gubbins, associate in the clinical negligence team in our London office, and supervised by partner John Kyriacou.