Our client, a normally fit and active 40-year-old man, had difficulty walking and developed severe back pain after knee surgery at Wexham Park Hospital. We settled a claim against Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust relating to the avoidable failure of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, where part of a ligament from his leg was used as a graft to reconstruct the damaged knee ligament.
Three months after the operation, it was discovered that one of the screws used to fix the new ligament in place had fallen away. The delay was a result of the surgeon’s failure to check the x-rays performed by way of follow up, which would have demonstrated the screw misplacement. During the subsequent operation to remove the misplaced screw, the surgeon did not check the range of movement in the knee before completing the surgery.
When the client’s symptoms worsened, he sought a second opinion. This identified that the reconstruction was not functioning properly and so he underwent further surgery. Although acceptable movement was restored, most of the original graft had to be removed leaving our client with a severely unstable knee. The remaining graft then disintegrated and our client now faces revision surgery. On investigation of the case, it became apparent that there were also issues with the nature of the operation initially recommended and the consent procedure used.
We obtained supportive expert evidence on breach and causation and submitted details of the claim to the trust. Although it made an early admission of liability in relation to the position of one of the fixing screws, it denied overall liability. After initially continuing to dispute the claim following the issue of dispute proceedings, a good settlement was eventually reached.
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