Case studies

Substantial compensation achieved for negligent total knee replacement

Our client had suffered from pain in her left knee for a number of years. Following an investigation, she was told she needed to have a total knee replacement (TKR).

This replacement was carried out at the East Surrey Hospital by a locum surgeon whom we understand later stopped practising in the UK. She expected that it would take up to six months to recover from the operation but her knee was in a worse condition than before with a more restricted range of movement, increased pain and disability. As a result, she could not do any of the activities she had previously enjoyed and her sleep was badly affected by pain and discomfort.

We obtained expert orthopaedic evidence that this would not have happened if the operation been carried out with proper skill and care. The expert advised that the operation had not been performed acceptably. Too much bone had been cut away from our client’s knee and at an angle and the prosthetic knee was wrongly aligned. The surgeon had tried to fill the gap he had created by inserting too large a spacer resulting in our client’s knee being ‘overstuffed’. Our expert felt the surgeon failed to recognise all these errors and instead left our client with a knee that could not function correctly and caused her intense pain.

Various further procedures were attempted at the hospital, including manipulating the knee under anaesthetic and changing the spacer for a smaller one but which none of these led to any improvement. Eventually, she was referred for further opinion and underwent another operation to replace the whole of the knee. Her condition then improved but she still suffered from pain and restricted movement because of the damage already done.

No admission of liability was made by the East Surrey Hospital but the claim eventually settled for £92,500 plus costs when the experts’ evidence in the case was exchanged.

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