Charlotte’s Hip Dysplasia Compensation Claim
There was a delay in diagnosing Charlotte with hip dysplasia when she was a baby. As a result, she suffered injury and required extensive surgery. Charlotte sought compensation and succeeded.All babies have their hips checked for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) because it is essential to diagnose this condition early. People often used to call this condition congenital dislocation of the hip. Hip dysplasia is more common amongst girls and there are some babies that are at higher risk of getting this condition. The risk factors include family history and breech delivery.
What is developmental dysplasia of the hip?
This is a condition where the ball and socket of the hip joint do not sit correctly. Fortunately it is detected early in most children and it can usually be treated conservatively. However, it can be difficult to detect in the early stages after birth so it is checked again later. Generally it is easy to diagnose the problem when the babies are weight bearing and by the time they are 6-9 months. It can occur in just one hip or sometimes in both hips.
Charlotte had her hips checked when she was born and no one detected any abnormality. Medical staff noted that she was not taking weight on her feet when she was 9 months old. Staff planned to check her again when she was a year old but that check never took place. Charlotte’s mother took Charlotte to her GP because she was concerned that Charlotte was walking with a limp. Also, there appeared to be a problem with her left leg when she was walking. The GP reassured Charlotte’s mother that there was no problem.
Charlotte’s GP referred her to an orthopaedic surgeon when she was 5 ½. The surgeon immediately diagnosed her with a dislocation of the left hip. This was a very late diagnosis of hip dysplasia and as a result Charlotte had to undergo extensive surgery. She stayed in hospital for lengthy periods which disrupted her schooling.
Claiming for Medical Negligence after a Late Diagnosis
On Charlotte’s behalf her mother pursued a claim against the GPs and also the Health Visitors responsible for hip checks. We alleged that they had been negligent when they failed to diagnose Charlotte’s hip dysplasia. An independent GP expert confirmed that the treatment fell below an acceptable standard. Also an independent orthopaedic surgeon confirmed that earlier treatment would have led to much less extensive surgery and a much better prognosis. Experts now predict that Charlotte will start to develop problems in her thirties and will require total hip replacement by the age of 40.
Charlotte has done very well and leads a full and active life but obviously there would have been a much better outcome if she had received proper medical care. She claimed compensation for the additional pain and suffering and additional costs of care both to date and in the future and consequential future loss of earnings. This year, Charlotte agreed the terms of her settlement and she received a substantial compensation award. She will be able to invest some of the award to help with additional expenses when she has to undergo further surgery.
Charlotte went through a lot as a young girl but remained positive and stoical throughout. She has been able to use a little bit of the compensation to treat herself and buy a new car.
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