Court approves settlement for child born with developmental dysplasia of the hips
NG was discovered to be in a breech presentation in utero and her mother underwent a successful external cephalic version to turn her, at 37 weeks gestation. NG was born on 13 September 2007 and her hips were stated to be normal at a newborn examination. She did not undergo any follow up tests at the hospital, such as an ultrasound scan of her hips, despite being in the high risk group for developmental dysplasia of the hips due to her breech presentation. There was an 8-month check up with the health visitor and nothing was picked up, although she had a more prominent crease on her right hip.
NG’s parents later reported to her GP that she was waddling when she walked and an ultrasound scan was requested. This led to a diagnosis of bilateral developmental dysplasia of the hip, at 26 months of age.
Expert evidence confirmed that NG ought to have undergone an ultrasound scan of her hips in the first few weeks after her birth and that this would have shown hip instability and/or dislocation. It is likely that non-surgical treatment would have been successful and NG would have developed normal hips without any long-term concern. If NG’s condition had been picked up after her 8-month check, treatment at that stage would have led to normal development of her hips without any long-term concern.
Following her diagnosis NG underwent bilateral open reduction and femoral osteotomies. She required a further femoral osteotomy in her right hip in January 2013 and had two further operations to remove metalwork.
An expert in orthopaedic surgery advised that NG would require a repeat osteotomy by the age of 14 and that she would develop osteoarthritis at a younger age than usual, requiring hip replacements and hip revisions sooner than she would have needed, if she had had normal hip development. It was also considered that she should avoid a career relying on long periods of standing or walking, climbing or high impact activity involving her lower limbs.
Liability was admitted in the Letter of Response in relation to failure to carry out a 6-week ultrasound scan, and an offer was made by the Defendant Trust to settle the claim, in June 2015. This was rejected and NG’s claim was quantified. A round table meeting took place in June 2018 and the case settled for a figure in excess of £300,000. In the approval hearing, in December 2018, anonymity was granted.
Dr Mala Sidebottom, who was instructed in the case said, ‘I am delighted that NG has settled her case for a sum that should enable her to access any care and treatment that she needs and to fully move on with her life.’
18 year old girl settles claim for failings by health visitor
FN, now 18, had right sided hearing loss which was missed in her 8-month hearing check. The health visitor performed an infant distraction hearing test without assistance from a second health visitor and FN’s parents recall that, although FN did not respond properly to the test on one side the test was not repeated and no follow up appointment was suggested.
Settlement achieved for a man left with debilitating bladder and bowel dysfunction following spinal injury
Dr Mala Sidebottom has secured compensation for a 52 year old man who underwent spinal surgery in 2004, resulting in sexual dysfunction and bowel and bladder disturbance.
Stillbirth – failure to scan and identify reduced intrauterine growth
The claimant discovered she was pregnant at around 28 weeks. She had her first scan around four weeks later, following which her pregnancy was estimated to be 30 +5 weeks gestation. Four weeks after that, the claimant saw an obstetric registrar in the antenatal clinic, who noted that the fundal height, a measure of the size of the uterus, was 30cms. The fundal height should roughly equal the number of weeks of pregnancy. However, although the registrar noted the claimant was 34 +5 weeks gestation, she also noted that growth was normal, when it was not.
Elderly client settles claim against leading hip surgeon
Dr Mala Sidebottom has recovered six-figure damages for an 87 year-old whose revision hip surgery in 2010 went disastrously wrong.
The surgery was performed to relieve pain and improve mobility but instead initiated a spiral of events which led to pelvic instability, increased pain, reduced mobility and, eventually, removal of the entire hip joint, causing serious disability.
Following a recent Supreme Court clarification of the law on consent to treatment, our client’s case was that, if they had been given proper advice about the risks and benefits of revision surgery, and the alternatives to surgery, they would have opted for a period of ‘watchful waiting’ with the result that surgery would have been postponed for several years and would have avoided the disastrous outcome which so unfortunately occurred.
Liability was very firmly denied but a settlement was agreed shortly before trial.
Our client said:
“I have been very grateful for all your efforts over the years to secure a successful ending to the clinical negligence claim. I’m sure without your determination and thoroughness there could well have been a different outcome”.
Dr Mala Sidebottom said:
“I am pleased that we were successful and, also, that my client has now undergone further treatment. I very much hope that, with time, their improved condition will allow them to take pleasure in the coming years”.