Knee and hip replacements are among the most common procedures carried out on the NHS and can bring great improvements to quality of life. However, they do occasionally go wrong and – as one High Court case showed – it is vital to seek legal advice straight away if the worst happens.
The case concerned a man in his 50s who underwent a total replacement of his left knee following a fall at work. It was accepted by the NHS trust that employed the surgeon who performed the operation that a component of the synthetic knee joint had been misaligned. The man walked with a limp and suffered considerable pain for an extended period, and had to undergo a further operation four years after the first.
In awarding him £100,124 in damages, the Court rejected the trust's arguments that the cause of his pain and restricted movement had been an infection, rather than the surgeon's admitted negligence. The award included £27,500 in respect of the man's pain, suffering and loss of amenity and more than £54,000 for his lost earnings.