The clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP has settled a claim for damages in relation to a hip resurfacing surgical procedure performed by consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Sarah Muirhead-Allwood, on a client who suffered injury as a result of a retained piece of braided wire.
The client underwent the hip resurfacing procedure with Ms Muirhead-Allwood on a private basis in October 2012. Despite being advised that the operation had been a success, the client suffered with significant post-operative pain. An X-ray performed two days later revealed that a metal wire had been left in the hip during the operation and the client was informed that he would require further urgent surgery to remove the wire as there was a potential of damage being sustained to his joint. He underwent further surgery under general anaesthetic that evening to remove the errant wire, measuring approximately 3cm in length, from the hip.
The team obtained expert orthopedic evidence confirming that it was a “well-known” risk that the braided wires/cables can fragment causing strips of wire to deposit in the wound. An expert confirmed that, had a simple inspection and irrigation of the wound been carried out before concluding the original procedure - as it should have been given this risk - the errant wire would have been found without difficulty and the client would not have required further surgery under general anaesthetic with the associated pain, discomfort and inconvenience. It was also determined that the client would have avoided a prolonged hospital stay and a prolonged recovery period.
A letter was sent to the defendant’s representatives setting out the allegations of negligence in the client's care together with an offer of settlement to encourage early settlement of the claim. This offer was accepted 17 days after submission.
Naomi Holland, an associate in the clinical negligence team who ran this case, said: “This case highlights the importance of taking basic steps to ensure that no foreign bodies are left in situ following an operation as it can cause patients unnecessary distress and pain in having to undergo further unnecessary surgery to remove the foreign body.”